Nemo and St Finbarr's remain the teams to beat in the top tier of Cork football

Nemo and St Finbarr's remain the teams to beat in the top tier of Cork football
Paul Kerrigan, Nemo Rangers, battling Dylan Quinn, St Finbarr's, last season. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IT IS indeed fitting that both Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr’s should be the first teams in action in the new-look county premier senior football championship on Friday evening.

Current holders Nemo meet Valley Rovers in Group 3 in Cloughduv at 7.30pm while the 2018 champions, the ’Barr’s, face Ballincollig in Group 2 at the same time at Pairc Ui Rinn.

The St Finbarr's team after defeating Cill na Martra in the Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 football league final, at Pairc Ui Rinn. Picture: David Keane.
The St Finbarr's team after defeating Cill na Martra in the Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 football league final, at Pairc Ui Rinn. Picture: David Keane.

The city’s kingpins were also champions over 40 years ago, when the county championships in football and hurling underwent a seismic change from traditional knock-out to a league format for four seasons.

A passionate 90-minute debate at the 1977 annual convention resulted in delegates voting by 138-83 in favour of a proposal to alter the long-established structures.

A report submitted by a special committee to examine the imbalance in standards of teams competing in the senior championships was carried.

The 1978 senior football championship was played on a round-robin basis in groupings based on grades.

Group 1 contained Nemo, the Barrs, St Michael’s, UCC and St Nick’s with Bishopstown, Millstreet, Dohenys and Clonakilty in Group 2.

Group 3 had Na Piarsaigh, Naomh Aban, Glanworth and Bantry Blues while Group 4 contained all the divisions, except Imokilly.

The Barrs qualified for the semi-finals with Nemo, St Michael’s, Clon, Millstreet, Naomh Aban and Carbery contesting the quarter-finals.

Nemo defeated St Michael’s by 1-9 to 1-3 in the final.

Castlehaven were the newcomers in ’79 and managed to reach the final at the first attempt, going under to the Barrs, who retained their title in 1980, overcoming the College by 3-8 to 1-9.

In ’81 there was an open draw in three sections, city, rural and divisions with the city winners progressing directly to the final and Bantry Blues defeating Muskerry in the only semi-final. Nemo won the final by 3-11 to 0-6 before the championship returned to its traditional knock-out format in 1982.

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