Cork hurling fans must stay home but a shock result would shake up the summer

Cork hurling fans must stay home but a shock result would shake up the summer
Glen Rovers full-back Kenneth McCarthy-Coade puts in a fine clearance ahead of Alan O'Sullivan, Na Piarsaigh, during their Premier 1 MHC semi-final in Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: David Keane.

WHEN Carrigtwohill won the Cork County SHC back in 2011 they were one of the unlikeliest winners in the history of that championship.

Carrigtwohill was always a hurling stronghold that produced some of the finest players in the county from time to time.

However, in that year of 2011 they were not even close to the top of the leading contenders list.

In fact, if the betting was anything to go by, they were right at the very bottom of the pile, they could be got at 100-1.

However, they made a mockery of all that and poured scorn on those tasked with selecting the teams who might be involved at the business end of the season.

They were fully deserving winners, leading to an outpouring of emotion in the aftermath rarely if ever witnessed before.

Could it happen again, a team at such lengthy odds coming through the field and first past the post?

The answer is highly unlikely but you can never say never.

The list of leading contenders when the campaign gets up and running again the weekend after next is down to the usual suspects.

They would be Imokilly, Sars, Midleton, the Glen and Blackrock.

As far as the rest are concerned, we have not seen enough evidence in the recent past to suggest they could be in the chase.

Again, that’s not saying it cannot happen and in sport the only certainty is the uncertainty.

This is going to be a championship like no other, firstly we have it broken into two sections, Premier and Senior A.

So, at the conclusion of the season we will have two senior championship winners, the Premier competition, obviously, being the one that carries far greater significance.

At the time of writing we are in the dark about what the attendance levels will be for the games but after the Government ruling last Wednesday it seems highly likely that no more than 200 people will be allowed in to a venue.

That limit will effectively mean that games will be very close to being played being closed doors.

Can you imagine just 200 people in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the Glen and the Barrs?

The extension of the limit to just 200 to August 10 decrees that the opening rounds of the SHC and SFC here on Leeside will have that very limited amount in attendance.

If that limit stays in place it is going to create massive headaches for the clubs hosting the games and how it is going to be policed will surely be very interesting, all the more so at country venues.

Financial coffers are going to be hit too and it must be stressed that in that 200 you are including officials and club volunteers.

But if that’s going to be the case it has to be accepted because the health of people is of paramount importance.

How it will affect players remains to be seen, does it matter to them whether it’s 200 or 20, 000 present when the ball is thrown in?

There will be TV coverage by RTÉ and TG4 and the viewing figures for those games are sure to soar.

Here in Cork the hurling homes in Blackpool and Togher would be glued to the TV on Saturday week for the Glen and the Barrs.

It’s terrific that the games are going ahead when at one point in the year we thought it might not happen at all.

But there is so much uncertainty surrounding the whole thing and we just don’t know until the campaigns begin how it will all sort itself out.

One thing in all the clubs' favour is that everybody will be starting off from the same position, the same level playing field.

No team will have an advantage over the other and how the long lay-off will affect teams will be interesting too.

There was hardly any league campaign to take a reading from in terms of trying to forecast results.

Maybe being the year that it is we might see another long shot like Carrigtwohill in 2011 come up trumps.

The time constraints on the championship could be a factor too where Imokilly’s bid for four-in-arow is concerned.

Will there be a reluctance to release players if they are playing with their clubs the day before a senior game with e division.

Glen Rovers full-back Kenneth McCarthy-Coade puts in a fine clearance ahead of Alan O'Sullivan, Na Piarsaigh, during their Premier 1 MHC semi-final in Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: David Keane.
Glen Rovers full-back Kenneth McCarthy-Coade puts in a fine clearance ahead of Alan O'Sullivan, Na Piarsaigh, during their Premier 1 MHC semi-final in Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: David Keane.

Here in the city, the question has to be posed, can the likes of the Barrs, Na Piarsaigh and the Rockies end lengthy famines without a title.

The three of those great clubs have now gone a combined total of 61 years without landing the big prize, 27 for the Barrs, 18 for the Rockies and 16 for Na Piarsaigh.

That’s too long in those hurling strongholds but then again nobody has a divine right to anything.

The Glen are major challengers again but they too endured 26 years without a title.

The games are going to come thick and fast for all clubs and for dual clubs the challenge will be even greater.

But it is what it is and from the August weekend onwards, where the hurling is concerned, we will be learning as we go along.

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