Major delay to minor final as Castlehaven and Wolfe Tones is put on hold

Major delay to minor final as Castlehaven and Wolfe Tones is put on hold

Ben Cunningham, St Finbarr's, battles Adam O'Donoghue and Liam McCarthy, Castlehaven, in last week's MFC semi-final replay. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

TOMORROW night should have seen the final premier minor championship title decided as Wolfe Tones and Castlehaven were due to face off in the Premier 2 football decider.

For now, it is unclear when this game will go ahead and there is a good chance it could be well into next year before they get the chance to be crowned champions.

Whoever wins, whenever it is played, will see a fourth club crowned champions between hurling and football at the Premier 1 and 2 levels, showing just how competitive the competitions have been this year.

The round-robin series of games have seen sides lose but knowing they have had more games to recover and get back on track.

That worked in Wolfe Tones’ (a combination of Kanturk and Lismire) favour as they were beaten by St Finbarr’s in the group stages by three points, a game they were fancied to win, but recovered to reach the final.

In their other group games they had wins over St Michael’s and Carrigaline to reach the semi-final.

In that, they took on Carbery Rangers, another side who were amongst those fancied for overall honours. This was never going to be anything other than a close encounter and that’s how it went.

Carbery had come through their group stages undefeated so Wolfe Tones were well aware of the challenge they were facing.

That tie was close all through and a late point in the first-half saw Wolfe Tones lead 1-5 to 1-3 at the half time interval, with everything to play for heading into the second half.

Wolfe Tones got the first scores after the break, with Brian Healy, Rory Sheahan and Grantas Bucinskas all pointing.

Alan Walsh also scored in what was a fruitful early second-half spell for the winners and built up a five-point lead with 40 minutes gone.

That lead was extended when Cian O’Sullivan found the back of the net, courtesy of what was a cracker of a finish in the 45th minute.

Carbery Rangers threw everything at Wolf Tones, but they put the icing on the cake when Grantas Bucinskas finished with a fine goal in second-half stoppage time as they ran out winners by 3-10 to 1-6 in the end.

Sadly these young players must now wait and see what will happen in the coming weeks and months, with some of their panel also due to have lined out with Kanturk next weekend in the PIFC final against Knocknagree.

Castlehaven, for their part, came through as runners up in their group to Carbery Rangers. They started with wins over Valley Rovers and Bandon and found themselves facing St Finbarr’s in the semi-final, who had topped the other group.

That clash put one player in an unusual situation as Jack Cahalane lines out with the Haven for football and the Barrs for hurling. He celebrated his 18th birthday in style as he turned 18 on the day the Barrs won the Premier 1 MHC title, defeating Sars in the final.

Now he is two games away from adding two more county medals to his collection, but like the others he doesn’t know when the games will be played.

Ironically both came after he helped Castlehaven defeat his hurling club in two semi-finals, the second one last Sunday night when they won after a penalty shoot-out and there were due to play Nemo Rangers in the senior final next weekend.

Before that he was involved in two epic minor semi-finals, with the first ending in a draw and the fading light meant no extra-time and the second one saw only a point between the sides.

Cahalane, who always seems to play with a smile on his face, will be one of the players they will look to whenever it takes place.

Others they will look to include the likes of Seán Bohane, Jack O’Neill, Liam McCarthy, Sean Browne and Fiachra Collins.

All three finals to date have been of the highest quality and this one should follow in that mould,whenever it gets to take place.

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