Appreciate every hurling and football game you see with Covid threat looming

Appreciate every hurling and football game you see with Covid threat looming

Sun-kissed Páirc Uí Rinn last weekend. It was a shame to have games postponed in such idyllic conditions. Picture: Larry Cummins

IF last weekend's postponements in the Premier Senior Football Championship taught us anything, it's that we need to appreciate every match we get to see or play in during the coming weeks. 

The spectre of Covid-19 looms large on Leeside. While the scorching weather made it a dreamy few days that were ideal for hurling and football and glorious to be a spectator at, two attractive fixtures fell by the wayside.

Ballincollig and Nemo was pulled on Thursday after a positive Covid case in the club, which had a knock-on across the whole panel. St Finbarr's and Newcestown was called off on Sunday morning, just hours before throw-in, with test results outstanding down west.

Depending on how quickly those quarter-finals can be refixed, this hold-up puts a squeeze on the Cork senior footballers. With Newcestown, along with Aghabullogue, Kanturk and Éire Óg, in the latter stages of championships in both codes, there's not much wiggle room.

Of course, this is assuming the inter-county scene throws-in come October. There are games on the horizon from the middle of next month, including minor hurling and football and U20 hurling, along with the high-profile senior action. It's been said the country 'needs' the All-Irelands to get us through the winter and we couldn't agree more.

By the same token, with local matches falling to Covid-testing, and not always positive cases, you'd wonder if the inter-county game will be able to function. The rest of September will tell a lot.  

Leaving aside from the disappointment of cancelled matches, there was plenty of cracking club fare over the past week. 

The minor hurling finals at Páirc Uí Rinn, St Finbarr's beating Sars in Premier 1, St Colman's edging Kanturk in Premier 2, were outstanding showcases for the best of the underage game in Rebel county. 

Credit to referees Cathal McAllister and Cathal Egan, both let the finals flow. There were scoreable frees awarded, naturally enough but the right amount of controlled aggression was allowed too.

For too long Cork officials have been overly fussy. That's not to blame them completely. They were following the rules but the problem is hurling on a national scale isn't reffed that way anymore.

We can all contribute. Less shouting and roaring at the man in the middle and calling for everything for our own clubs.

We tend to wax lyrical about the toughness of the game when refs let minor infringements go when it suits our teams. Yet then we go ballistic from the sidelines and the stands it doesn't suit our agendas.

Hopefully, this season is the start of a trend towards more balanced officiating and a harder brand of hurling. 

Underage football is in the spotlight on Wednesday evening, with four semi-finals against the Premier 1 and Premier 2 minor competitions.

Originally, they were set on the home turf of the four group winners, ala the hurling, but that has since changed, with two matches in Clon and one at Macroom, though Douglas will still host Inniscarra.

It's a much fairer approach, particularly with the large distances between a number of the clubs. 

Kanturk will be eager to bounce back from the disappointment of losing in the P2 hurling last week when they meet Carbery Rangers and Ibane Gaels take on a Glanmire squad largely drawn from the Sars group defeated by the Barrs.

The Blues' own clash with Castlehaven is fascinating as Jack Cahalane, one of their star hurlers, and Cormac O'Neill, who also featured in the hurling victory, play football for the Haven.

That semi is now in Clon, though it was originally mooted for Togher, which would have added more spice again. It's reminiscent of the noughties when Ger McCarthy was Dohenys' ace attacker but hurled with the Barrs, who he then met in the SFC as he shone for the Dunmanway outfit.

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