WE like Páirc Uí Rinn, we really do.
It’s a neat, tidy ground and the surface is wonderful, despite the never-ending flow of traffic upon in.
Familiarity doesn’t exactly breed contempt, but this time of year, one does enjoy the opportunity to be sent out around the county to club venues for championship games.
As we have said a few times in this column, the atmosphere is generally better as the crowd is closer to the pitch and housed in a more compact fashion.
It’s an argument we saw made on a larger scale at the weekend against holding Dublin v Westmeath in Croke Park – a half-empty stadium immediately sucks some of the life away from a game.
The hospitality is usually good at the club grounds too.
The tea and sandwiches in Bandon and Mallow are always very much appreciated and on Saturday evening Éire Óg raised the bar with the offering of yellow Snacks (the shortcake ones) for the media corps, which comprised your humble correspondent and the legendary Paudie Palmer of C103.
Traffic management was in evidence at the Ovens venue for the senior hurling meeting of Bandon and Carrigtwohill, as motorists were directed up the road to the second Éire Óg pitch. From there, though, they made it back to where the match was on thanks to the tunnel under the road, an excellent inclusion.
Bandon took the honours to keep their campaign going, as they benefit with each passing game.
It’s strange to think that, at the start of August 2015, they meekly exited the premier intermediate championship at the fourth-round stage with defeat against Valley Rovers.
Since then, they have played eight championship games – five in the PIHC last year and three at senior so far in 2017 – and only lost one, that after extra time against Blackrock.
On Sunday afternoon, Carrigtwohill was the venue for the East Cork derby between Midleton and Erin’s Own.
Again, it was an all-hands-to-the-pump club effort and the fact that we missed out on a programme can be put down to tardiness and a large crowd – one reason avoidable, the other very welcome.
Something of interest to our historical nerd side was that the national anthem played before the game was a very old version, featuring the opening line, “Sinne laochra fáil” – warriors of destiny rather than the more common soldiers of destiny, “Sinne fianna fáil”.
We had heard in the past that the ‘laochra fáil’ version was adopted by the inter-party governments of 1948 and 1954 so as not to be advertising their opposition, only for de Valera to restore the ‘fianna fáil’ edition in 1951 and again in 1957.
Some research for this article revealed that not to be the case and instead something of an urban myth. However, even more shockingly, it seems that no official Irish wording of the anthem has been published by any government. Which is a bit Irish, really.
On the pitch, Midleton prevailed after extra time following four Erin’s Own goals in the final quarter of normal time.
The Magpies also deserve a lot of credit – after their win over Carrigtwohill in round one we mentioned how their new jerseys had black numbers on black and white hoops, making visibility difficult to the point of impossible – well, on Sunday they were back in their old jerseys, with the blacks numbers housed in a white squad, massively increasing legibility.
Good traffic management was also evident here.
The entrance to Carrigtwohill’s ground is two lanes wide – usually to allow people to go in and out at the same time, of course – but after Sunday’s game they cleverly made both lanes outbound.
Stewards informed those departing that Midleton traffic was to go on the right and Erin’s Own cars to the left.
We made sure our neutrality was reported but of course the left lane was the one for us, heading back towards Cork.
We must also mention Friday night in Brinny.
While the close proximity to home means that we never look for tea there, it has something that few others do – a third dugout, just for us members of the media.
Riverstown is a notable exception in this, too, and it must go on record as to how beneficial such a resource is for us.