TONIGHT will sees St Finbarr’s determined to do something they haven’t done since 1997 — win the Premier 1 Minor Hurling Championship title.
The early 90s were good for the Barrs with title wins in 1991, 92, and 93 and then again in 1997.
But since then they have not raised the cup in victory, something they will be determined to do tonight.
But standing in their way is a top-class Sarsfields side, who are well used to winning — and this bunch have won their fair share of underage titles.
What is in store though is a cracking final. Sars will be slight favourites in the eyes of many, and it is difficult to argue against that. But anyone who has seen the Barrs this year will know their is a determination about this side to end that drought. They have been superb in the group stages, and they had a brilliant win over Glen Rovers in the semi-final. At underage level, it was Sars and the Glen that dominated since U12 up for this particular age group.
But the Barrs have been building for some time now, and they are going to take some stopping.
There will be massive battles all over the pitch, and any neutral fan would be fascinated to see who will come out on top of these.
Jack Cahalane has been outstanding for the Barrs in this championship so far, and finds himself in a position that does not happen too often. As a dual club player he will be trying to win a county title with the Barrs tonight and then next week he will be trying to stop them from reaching another county final, when he lines out for Castlehaven against the Barrs in the Premier 2 MFC semi-final.
His clash with Sars full-back Luke Elliott is one of those key battles, and the question is will the Barrs start him at full-forward, or will them play him further out the pitch?
In fairness to the Barrs and Sars, they both have been fairly consistent in their line-ups and the chances are high that the pair will be lining out against each other.
Like Cahalane, Elliott is a class act and is one of the best, if not the best full-back at this age in the county. The game will be worth watching for this clash alone.
At the other end of the pitch, Sars have Daniel Hogan, another quality forward, and one that will be a handful for any defender. He normally starts in the corner but can easily switch to full-forward or further out the pitch.
He hit 1-13 for his side in the semi-final, and is only bursting to play, having missed two of the group games. Who will pick him up is a question the Barrs will have been asking themselves since their own semi-final win.
There are plenty more key battles, with Cathal McCarthy most likely having the difficult task of picking up Barrs centre-forward Ben Cunningham.
In midfield, Ethan Twomey and Ciaran Doolan will face up against Sars’ Colm McCarthy and Cillian McCarthy. The winners of this battle will have a big say in where the cup ends up.
The Irish Examiner in association with The Echo will be
streaming this game for those that cannot attend due to the current restrictions.
Kanturk take on St Colman’s in the Premier 2 decider on Thursday night, another difficult game to call.
In their high-scoring semi-final, Kanturk knocked out the defending champions Kiltha Óg on a 5-19 to 4-14 scoreline. Colman’s came through a close tie with Newcestown, 0-16 to 0-14.
Both sides have been amassing big scorelines overall, with Colman’s hitting 7-55 in their four games to date, while Kanturk have hit 11-77.
Tommy Walsh, Colin Walsh, and Alan Walsh are three of the players Colman’s will have to watch carefully if they are to come out on top.
Kanturk, meanwhile, will need to keep an eye on the likes of Conor Cahill and Daniel Cronin. Like the P1 decider, it is a tough one to call — but Kanturk will start as slight favourites to take the title.
Premier 1 MHC final: St Finbarr’s v Sarsfields, Páirc Uí Rinn, 7pm.
Premier 2 MHC final: St Colmans v Kanturk, Páirc Uí Rinn, 7pm.