IT was always a puzzle as to why Cork’s hurling and football championships struggled to attract sponsors.
Okay, the Co-Op Superstores and Bon Secours have come on board this season and they are welcome contributors, no doubt, to the board’s coffers.
Over the years the likes of Trustee Savings Bank and the Evening Echo got in on the act with Guinness sponsoring a man-of-the-match lunch on the day after the county final.
Some of those affairs entered folklore for the duration and consumption at the celebrations, but are now consigned to history.
Yet, in between, there was many a long season without a sponsor’s logo attached to the many championships.
There are a couple of aspects to a championship which have got no attention at all and they refer to the leading scorers and goalkeepers with the highest number of clean sheets during a campaign.
Soccer has its Golden Boot or Shoe, as it’s now known, and the best keeper picks up the Golden Glove.
Wouldn’t be in line, especially with the nature of the football sponsors, that the top scorer and leading keeper would be honoured let’s say with a Golden Surgical Boot and Golden Surgical Gloves? Only kidding!
You’d imagine the most prolific scorer at the season’s conclusion would emerge from the champions.
It stands to reason that they’d play the most number of games, along with the beaten finalists, and would post the highest scores, but it’s not always the case.
Starting with Ballincollig’s breakthrough success in 2014, records show that the leading marksman since has only once come from the eventual winners.
That honour falls to Stephen Sherlock, who even had to share his lofty position with Mark Collins from Castlehaven, who didn’t reach the 2018 final.
Sherlock registered 3-37 from five games during the Barrs’ memorable march to the title with Collins finishing from 0-46 from two games more because of the number of replays involving the Haven en route.
The defending champions, Nemo Rangers, didn’t supply the leading scorer either last year when John Hayes from Carbery Rangers accounted for 2-20 in just three outings.
The gifted Ross forward also topped the poll in 2014 with 5-28 from six outings though that still couldn’t deny Ballincollig.
The Haven captured the Andy Scannell Cup in 2015, when Brian Hurley was pipped by a point by Paul Kerrigan from Nemo Rangers who recorded 4-22 from seven games to Hurley’s 3-22 from a couple of games less.
Carbery Rangers wrote their names on the famous trophy in an historic 2016 season, when Ballincollig’s Cian Dorgan was the leading scorer with 2-31.
Nemo replaced them as champions the following season with Sherlock leading the way with 2-48 and Hayes, like Sherlock, was number one a second time last season.
It’s no coincidence that the same names keep cropping up again this season and while there are only two rounds played there’s a familiar pattern emerging.
Sherlock is a point in front of Connolly, who has Clonakilty newcomer Dara Ó Sé for company with Dorgan next in line.
Fiachra Lynch from Valley Rovers is in fifth, two points better off than Cillian Myers-Murray from the Barrs and he’s bounced back impressively from his long injury lay-off.
Michael Hurley from Castlehaven and Seamus Hayes from Carbery Rangers also make the top eight.
It’s even tighter in the new senior A championship, which is led by Daniel Goulding from Éire Óg, but only three points separate him from 10 others.