Club hurling championship to remember deserves a fitting finale in the Páirc

Club hurling championship to remember deserves a fitting finale in the Páirc

Players use their hurleys to block shield their eyes from the sun during the Cork County Premier Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final match between Blackrock and UCC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

WHILE the Glen and the Rockies finalise their preparations for next Sunday’s county final it will be a time for reflection for the rest.

There is no doubt that the championship overall has been a great success, the group format all the more so and surely that’s the way it will be going forward, the status quo prevailing.

At the outset of the campaign, we suggested that the winning team would be one from Imokilly, Sars, the Glen and the Rockies with maybe Midleton and Douglas entering the equation.

You could say that was easy to predict, the winner coming from that list.

The fact the Rockies and the Glen went through the campaign unbeaten makes them the rightful participants in the final.

Cian O'Connor of Erin's Own in action against Simon Kennefick of Glen Rovers last weekend. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cian O'Connor of Erin's Own in action against Simon Kennefick of Glen Rovers last weekend. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Both were asked a lot of questions last weekend but had the right answers at the right time.

Now they face the final exam when the questions will be even more difficult.

Both will know each other fairly well, the Rockies well aware that in Patrick Horgan the Glen have a player who has the ability to drag any game out of the fire.

The Glen will be well versed on how well balanced this Rockies team is, how their physical presence in a lot of areas will need counteracting.

On paper one would have to suggest that there is hardly anything between the teams and that it will be a huge surprise if the outcome is not still in doubt coming into the final five minutes or so.

So to those who will be on the outside looking in next Sunday, those who didn’t measure up along the journey.

Let’s start with Imokilly, the holders for the past three years.

They had a remarkable run in those years and it was always going to end, sooner rather than later.

The motivation might not be as great when you are after winning three times on the trot and losing key players from clubs who graduated to the Senior A ranks did not help matters.

When Midleton met Douglas it was a winner take all situation, the winner progressing to the knockout stages, the loser having their season terminated.

Douglas did the business on the night suggesting that maybe the potential they possessed was finally going to be realised.

The big question, of course, was, could they back up that fine effort with another against Blackrock.

As it turned out they came up short and they could have no complaints and it proved once again how difficult it is to make the big breakthrough.

Getting out of a very difficult group was an achievement but the wait has to go on.

Midleton’s failure to make the knockout stages was a huge disappointment and it was another illustration of how they have not been able to follow through on their great win of 2013.

The Barrs were in all sorts of turmoil after being heavily beaten by the Glen and Na Piarsaigh, so much so that there was a change of management before their make or break tie with Carrigtwohill.

It’s history now that they outclassed Carrig on the night, playing some delightful hurling that made you wonder why they left it too late.

That result must be built on and it gave them something to build on plus the splendid win of their minors has changed the complexion quite a lot out in Togher.

Sarsfields were the fancy of many in this championship and, in fact, were favourites in a lot of quarters.

But when they were paired with Erin’s Own and were highly fancied to come through that test one had the suspicion that this could be a banana skin.

And that’s exactly what happened, it was a local derby like no other and when Sars are in the other corner, Erin’s Own are fired up to the last.

And they deserved their win. They subsequently went down battling against the Glen but, overall, it has to be looked upon as a good campaign down in Caherlag.

Bishopstown had more reason than all the others to kick themselves because they lost two games that they should have won, against Newtown and Erin’s Own when on both occasions they held significant leads as the clock counted down.

But that’s the way it is, in this wonderful game of hurling you must always wait for herself to sing, the fat lady.

And it’s very likely we’ll have to wait too next Sunday.

Finally, to UCC, they were a breath of fresh air throughout and went down with heads held high.

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