RUSSELL ROVERS will have star forward Josh Beausang back in their ranks for next Saturday’s All-Ireland Club junior hurling final with Conahy Shamrocks from Kilkenny.
He missed the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Mícheál Breathnach from Galway with a shoulder injury, but the extra two weeks of recovery will allow him to start the biggest game in the East Cork club’s history.
Their participation in Croke Park is the stuff of dreams for the Shanagarry-based club.
Two years ago they won the divisional title in East Cork for the first time in their history before losing the county final that year to Cloughduv.
However, 12 months later they were back again in the final, defeating the team that they had already beaten in the divisional final, Carraig na bhFear.
They subsequently came through the Munster campaign and defeated the Galway and Connacht champions in the semi-final, a game they they were taken to extra-time in after another star forward, Bud Hartnett, had equalised with the final puck of regulation time.
Now they are an hour away from the biggest prize of all, but face a huge task against the Kilkenny and Leinster champions.
Meanwhile, their near neighbours Fr O’Neill’s will have their appeals against the red cards issued to Mark O’Keeffe and Billy Dunne during the course of their All-Ireland club intermediate semi-final win over Tooreen heard before a committee in Croke Park on Monday night.
Both players were dismissed in the second-half of that game, but the Ladysbridge-Ballymacoda-based club were hopeful that one or both will be successful in their appeals.
Next Saturday represents a massive occasion for both East Cork clubs who are located right next to each other.
O’Neill’s are returning to Croke Park 15 years after winning the All-Ireland club junior crown and there are two survivors from that side, Podge Butler and Eoin Conway.
Both will be in the starting line-up again against Tommy Walsh’s Tullaroan whose brother is current Kilkenny centre-back, Padraig.
O’Neill’s are the third Cork club in a row to contest the final, Charleville losing out last season with Kanturk claiming the title a year earlier.