St Finbarr's, Watergrasshill and Cloughduv bid for Féile hurling glory

St Finbarr's, Watergrasshill and Cloughduv bid for Féile hurling glory
St Finbarr's Ryan Bennett clears his lines under pressure from Bride Rovers' Nicky Kelleher and Ronan O'Connor in the Cork Féile decider. Picture: David Keane.

THREE Cork teams will head off on Friday morning as they bid for national honours in the Féile All-Ireland hurling finals.

St Finbarr's, Watergrasshill and Cloughduv head to Galway or Westmeath as they hope to follow up their wins in their respective Cork championships with an All-Ireland title.

In a change from the last few years, and one that will be welcomed by clubs all over the country, as the Premier winners are back in the Féile proper. A number of years ago a decision was taken at national level that the top sides would take part in a day-long tournament, with the A and B winners going to the Féile.

This was done for a number of reasons but was not one that met with the agreement of clubs and without any fanfare or fuss, it looks like it has been overturned and common sense has prevailed. This now means that all three Cork sides will be there for the weekend and in with a great chance of bringing a cup home.

The St Finbarr's Féile team taking part in a training session. Picture: David Keane.
The St Finbarr's Féile team taking part in a training session. Picture: David Keane.

The Cork Premier winners were St Finbarr's, who after coming through their group stage, faced Ballincollig in the semi-final. They overcame their near-neighbours and then faced Bride Rovers in the final. Two quality sides and after a close game the Barrs emerged winners on a scoreline of 1-5 to 1-4.

In Galway they will face Clarinbridge, Craughwell and a side from Waterford, starting on Friday evening.

The Barrs have been here a number of times in recent years and will know what it's all about as they take on Clarinbridge and the Waterford side on Friday, before finishing their group stage on Saturday against Craughwell.

Where they go from there depends on their results, with the top two in each group going through to the quarter-finals on Saturday evening. The semi-finals are also on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

The third and fourth placed sides go into a shield competition, which follows the same format of the cup competition. And this applies to all groups.

Watergrasshill won't be as familiar with the national competition as the Barrs as this is the first time they have qualified for the hurling series.

The Watergrasshill squad who are off to Westmeath on Friday for the national Féile hurling competition. Picture: Dan Linehan
The Watergrasshill squad who are off to Westmeath on Friday for the national Féile hurling competition. Picture: Dan Linehan

In their semi-final, they took on Kinsale in the semi-final and emerged winners by 0-5 to 0-4. In the final, they took in near-neighbours, Fermoy, and they won the bragging rights on a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-5.

They are off to Westmeath, where they will start against Na Piarsaigh, from Westmeath, followed by a side from Kilkenny and round off on Saturday against Raharney.

Again, pending on results they will follow the same pattern as the Premier side.

Cloughduv will also be in Westmeath, where they face Fr Daltons and a team from Wexford on Friday and St Oliver Plunketts on Saturday.

To get the finals they beat St Vincent's in the Cork semi-final and Erins Own in the final, both on the same scoreline of 2-8 to 1-2. Games on Friday are at 5.45pm and 7.15pm and on Saturday at 10.45am. Quarter-finals timings will be dependant on whether you top group or not.

The Cloughduv Féile. Picture: Gavin Browne
The Cloughduv Féile. Picture: Gavin Browne

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