The Paudie Palmer column: Sunday was the most exciting ever in Cork club GAA

The Paudie Palmer column: Sunday was the most exciting ever in Cork club GAA

Glen Rovers' Simon Kennefick fighting for the ball with Jamie Ryan of Blackrock during the Co-Op Superstores Premier SHC final last weekend. Picture: Dan Linehan

DO YOU remember a while back, when I mentioned a fear from my youth?

Growing up on a small south Kerry farm, some of the summer memories are clouded by an inbuilt fear that we wouldn’t get the hay saved prior to the weather breaking.

On Sunday night, it reappeared, sadly (from a sports perspective) we didn’t get the best club championship ever completed prior to the re-entry of Covid-19 related issues to our lives.

Yes, I can understand why the GAA did what it did on Monday but let us be a little understanding, prior to calling out various clubs.

The column is not here to condone what happened at some matches in terms of audience behaviour or indeed what happened in the aftermath of some county finals.

Not everybody has the wisdom of Solomon or indeed the wisdom of people of Charleville.

The North Cork club, in the aftermath of their county final victory over Fr O’Neill’s, informed their people via social media that there would not be the usual homecoming on this occasion, instead there would be an interaction between their mighty team and the people at home via their Facebook page.

As I mentioned about calling out clubs, maybe some self-reflection wouldn’t go astray here.

As a cocooner, I raise my hand in admitting to dropping the guard which was, as well as giving vent to my stupidity, was also good news for the evil virus.

Have you not seen evidence of the same at many recent events including family occasions such as funerals, weddings, christenings, confirmations, holy communions and birthdays?

Yes, dear readers, many of our citizens took their eye off the ball.

Back to the Cork set-up for a moment, and let us not forget the outstanding championship that it has been, I think, that an opportunity to complete it may yet present when both inter-county teams complete their championship programmes.

No, I am not wishing for an early exit but if were to happen, it may lead some of the Rebel fourth estate to use the term ‘silver lining’.

For the moment though, looking to the future may have to sit in back so a few thoughts on Sunday last.

For quite a while now an tUasal Murdoch and a number of the other money men in the Sky Corporation have been rather successful in their efforts at extracting cash from many of the masses with their catch slogan 'Super Sunday. Can I say now, even at the risk of alerting the psychiatry department, I don’t think I have ever experienced a Sunday like it?

The duration 12.30pm to 9.12pm — four matches beamed into the TV parlour at a total cost of zero cents.

Not only that but what entertainment: Two one-point margins, one went to extra time and another had penalties thrown in for good measure.

For those who earn good money at promoting the aforementioned Super Sunday, can I ask you to bend the knee please.

To begin with the early throw-in, Charleville won a thriller, despite been down nine at the middle break, they responded magnificently to win by one. Of course, credit must also go to this great O’Neills team and you would wonder had they Ger Mellerick in their ranks, could we have had a different outcome?

 Fr O’Neill’s Jason Hankard and Joe Mellerick fighting for this breaking ball with Charleville's Alan Dennehy. Picture: Dan Linehan
Fr O’Neill’s Jason Hankard and Joe Mellerick fighting for this breaking ball with Charleville's Alan Dennehy. Picture: Dan Linehan

Anyway, the ability of the victors to respond to opposition goals by landing points in batches of three or four was key.

Once again their young but experienced county man Darragh Fitzgibbon was vital. He tallied 1-8, and despite the fortuitous nature of his goal, he again demonstrated that he is a man who gives as much to his club as he provides for his county.

Danny O’Flynn has worn the shirt on many contrasting days, Sunday’s tally of six points was a fitting contribution from a loyal servant.

I must admit that when I became aware that Ben O’Connor was departing for other another pasture, I thought it may have had a negative impact. I was well wide of the mark.

Yes Duhallow had a chance, but cruel and all as it may sound the sending off of Donnacha O’Connor midway through the second half was a serious blow.

There is no doubting that one of the knock-ons of the new structure, is that it more or less makes it impossible for a divisional side to win the championship.

Late on when Mark Ellis from Millstreet back-fisted a goal from an outfield delivery, the possibility of extra time loomed large.

Rarely, have I seen a member of the Cronin family celebrate a score as Mark did when he drove over the winner. My God, they do like winning in Nemo.

Prior to the throw-in for the big hurling one, I had a slight fancy for the Rockies.

In the recent past, they have been market leaders in developing underage players of high quality. After the final defeat in 2017 and failure to get that far in the subsequent two years lead many to buy into the simple narrative “that they were missing something”. 

It’s missing no longer.

The reason for fancying them was based on the non-availability of the J1 escape route for their student ones. Bar one or two heading for a staycation, it was more or less a full roll call for training.

The cup that cheers... Blackrock SH Selector Kieran O Keeffe with his sons Mark, Shane and Ian after the Premier SHC county final. Picture: George Hatchell
The cup that cheers... Blackrock SH Selector Kieran O Keeffe with his sons Mark, Shane and Ian after the Premier SHC county final. Picture: George Hatchell

Some of the pre-match build-up was centred around the decision of whether they would start Tadhg Deasy.

They didn’t and when he did arrive on, the Glen were where they have spent an amount of the past few years, out in front.

Then the new arrival took off and raised a high-value green, but I can assure the Rockies backroom staff, the experts were calling you out.

“Why didn’t they start him?”

Deasy added a point but he could only finish up in second place in the scoring charts of the pine seat dwellers.

I am almost sure that the rugby boys were the first to introduce us to the term finishers, I know it was very much part of Jim Gavin’s philosophy that you finish with your best.

Last Sunday’s finishers elevated the term to a new level. The high number players contributed: 3-6.

The green and gold south city men may have waited 18 years but they can now say that they have landed the biggest prize in the best harvest ever.

They deserved their day in the sun.

At 7pm, Castlehaven and St Finbarrs took over the screens and occupied the same until 9.10pm.

St Finbarr's players after the penalty shoot-out against Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Finbarr's players after the penalty shoot-out against Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Was it a contest of high skill, I don’t know but it certainly was one of high drama. The penalty shoot-out was probably a fitting end to a most memorable day.

When will we experience the next one?

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