Near neighbours from East Cork are chasing Munster hurling titles

Near neighbours from East Cork are chasing Munster hurling titles
Fr O'Neill's Rob Cullinane tries to get away from Broadford's Cathal Chaplin, during their Munster Club IHC semi-final, at Midleton. Picture: David Keane.

THERE is at least one Cork club going to be present on a provincial final day, Fr O’Neill’s against Ballysaggart from Waterford in the Intermediate final.

Russell Rovers set off on the junior trail next Saturday against Kilgarvan from Kerry and they must be in with a good shout of progressing too.

It certainly would be some achievement if two clubs, two miles apart ended up with two Munster titles.

That’s some way off yet but right now that possibility exists.

O’Neill’s, as a club, have been down this road before, winning the Munster and All-Ireland junior titles in 2005-2006.

Midleton housed over 1500 souls last Sunday for their clash with Broadford from Clare and the Cork champions returned a very impressive tally of 3-22.

That’s damn good scoring any day of the week against the champions from another county.

The game was in stark contrast to the previous Sunday when they were taken right to the wire by the Limerick champions Blackrock.

Before a ball was pucked in this championship there was a school of thought that it would be a Fr O’Neill’s, Ballysaggart final and now it has come to pass.

This has the makings of a great final, Ballysaggart powered by the four Bennett brothers.

Of their 15-point tally registered against Tipperary’s Sean Treacy’s, the brothers contributed all but one of them.

In saying that, Deccie Dalton and Billy Dunne put up 3-13 between them in O’Neill’s win over the Clare team.

So what you are going to have in the Munster final is two teams containing a few real quality forwards and the outcome may well hinge on how the opposing defences curb them.

This club final will be similar to all the others, two clubs rural-based having nearly every man, woman and child in the parish in the supporters corner.

We see it Sunday after Sunday at this time of the year, small clubs getting their chance on a stage that one time they could only have dreamed of being on.

It’s late in the year, the weather is very often not very kind but there’s something about these club championship games that are different, something unique, two local communities being bound together for one hour.

Have no doubt, Russell Rovers will have their loyal followers rowing in behind them when they travel over the county bounds next Saturday.

And what a day it will be in Ovens when Éire Óg welcome Templenoe from Kerry in the opening round of the IFC.

The place will be bursting at the seams in the club’s first foray into the provincial arena.

On the senior front it might be different with Austin Stacks coming up to play Nemo Rangers.

Stacks didn’t win the county in Kerry, came nowhere near winning it but they have a club system of their own and they came out tops in that a good couple of months ago.

When you are not coming in as your own county champions it obviously militates against you.

That was the case with the Glen in Thurles last Sunday and it took them quite a while to get into the swing of things.

One has heard suggestions that if a divisional team wins the county they should go on to represent that county in the provincial arena.

No, definitely not. These club championships around the provinces are designed solely for clubs, in many instances very small ones and that makes them all the more unique.

There was a time when a divisional side was allowed to represent the county in the province, East Kerry winning out in Munster in 1965, ‘68 and 70 Finally, the inter-county managerial set-up is complete after Galway appointed Shane O’Neill from Limerick to the post.

This appointment was far too drawn out, generated far too much controversy and it will be interesting to see if there will be any fallout from it all.

The players, however, seem happy enough with the appointment with team captain David Burke stating: “It’s been a positive week on all fronts, we need to move on now and build for next year and get ready for the league.’’

More in this section

Sponsored Content