Cork could do with a hurling lift from the minors and U20s

Cork could do with a hurling lift from the minors and U20s

Cork minor Mark Howell is tackled by Adam Hogan of Clare. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

THE news that the inter-county minor and U20 hurling season will resume is very welcome.

There might be a school of thought that would say that it is far too late in the year to be starting up these competitions again but one believes that the young players involved will be mad for road again.

One would think that here on Leeside, Donal Óg Cusack, the minor team boss and Pat Ryan, the U20 boss will be delighted to get the show back on the road.

Both have put in a huge amount of work with the players at their disposal when they were allowed to do so in this unprecedented of seasons and one is led to believe that there is a lot of talent within both squads.

Both teams have a game under their belt, the minors being too strong for Clare and the U20s coming away from Austin Stack Park with an emphatic victory over Kerry.

Tadhg Brick, Kerry, and Cork's Alan Connolly in U20 action in Tralee. Picture: Domnick Walsh
Tadhg Brick, Kerry, and Cork's Alan Connolly in U20 action in Tralee. Picture: Domnick Walsh

Much stronger tests lie ahead if the green light is given to recommence but these two Cork teams will have every chance of regaining former glories in the grades.

It would be a huge end of year fillip to the GAA family in the county if provincial titles were collected because at senior level we have had to look on and see the rest of the best hurling counties battle it out for the MacCarthy Cup.

It’s time for Cork hurling to be challenging strongly again at the business end of the minor and U20 campaigns.

We have been getting into finals but falling short on the big day.

And it’s a pity that Blackrock did not get the opportunity to represent the county on the provincial stage because a club of their standing and tradition in this arena would have relished taking on the best from Tipp, Limerick, Clare and Waterford.

But, I suppose, we should be grateful that we got a GAA season at all and that we have today and tomorrow to look forward to with the two All-Ireland football semi-finals.

And, of course, we have a potential humdinger on our hands next Sunday in the hurling final.

This column would not be too worried either way about missing out on viewing the football semi-finals but we’ll stay in and have a good look in this weekend.

In the main that will be because of Tipp’s participation in one of them. 

And the country has a soft spot too for Mayo in their endeavours to reach the promised land after more heartbreak than is imaginable.

It is a great pairing to have at headquarters today and wouldn’t it be just wonderful and sensational if one of them collected the Sam Maguire later in the month.

Given Dublin’s current status and the depth of their resources, that’s unlikely to happen but in this strangest of circumstances maybe anything is possible.

Cavan are a welcome presence too in Croke Park tomorrow and they certainly have nothing to lose at all after being written off in every game that they played in Ulster.

Who would have ever thought that we’d be discussing the recommencement of championship games in deep December or be looking forward to two All-Ireland senior finals.

But that’s the way it is and the GAA is very fortunate to have grounds now that are able to stand up to the tests of the worst of the weather.

Just imagine what it will be like in the hurling homes of Waterford next Sunday. Christmas shopping will be halted and there will be an explosion of joy if they prevail Could it happen that the two counties who have waited so long to end the All-Ireland famine years, Waterford and Mayo will lift the old trophies.

No two counties have endured as much heartbreak down the years and what a boost for the GAA throughout the world it would be if it came to pass.

With the Dubs footballers about it’s very unlikely but as they say, if you are not in, you cannot win.

There are only a few weekends left in the year but they might turn out to be Winter wonderlands in some counties.

And in these dark days isn’t it great that we have them to look forward to.

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