THE finals of the John Kerins Tournament take place on Saturday at Páirc Uí Rinn, starting at 10am.
Now in its 14th year, this U11 football tournament is run by the gardaí in memory of their colleague and former Cork and St Finbarr’s goalkeeper John Kerins, who passed away at a young age.
John kept goal for St Finbarr’s for many years and also won two senior All-Ireland football medals with Cork in 1989 and 1990.
He was also a Cork minor selector for a number of years and his dedication to the game was second to none. Several years ago members of the gardaí decided to hold an annual U11 football tournament to honour his memory.
This year’s tournament was officially launched at St Finbarr’s Hurling and Football Club, Togher. The tournament took place in two stages over the last few months. First, there were the group stages at several clubs around the city and county and from that teams are now through to the quarter-finals of the cup and the semi-finals of the shield.
Last year’s winners of the cup were Douglas and they are back to defend their title as they bid to make it five-in-a-row. They are one of the few sides who have qualified nearly every year for the finals day. Others who have featured prominently are St Finbarr's, Nemo and Whitechurch.
One of the organisers Supt Mick Comyns, said they were looking forward to another great day’s football.
“This tournament is now very popular among clubs and we would like to thank all sides who entered again this year,” said Mick, “I would like to wish all sides the best of luck for the day and I know we will see some great football played on Saturday.
“I would also like to thank all those who help organise the tournament and in particular, Trish O’Riordan, John O'Driscoll, Aidan O’Connor and Tony Davis, for all the work they do to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“Also our sponsors are vital and we would like to thank Stewart Philpott of St Paul’s Credit Union, the Evening Echo and Fergal Ryan, Britvic Ireland, for supporting us and Coiste na nOg, for their co-operation in organising the games,” concluded Mick.
In the cup competition are Nemo Rangers. St Finbarr's, Erins Own, Carrigaline, Bishopstown, Valley Rovers, Duarigle Gaels and Douglas, whilst in the shield tournament are Mayfield, Shamrocks, Whitechurch and Crosshaven.
Up first are the cup quarter-finals, with Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr's getting proceedings under way at 10am. This will be followed by Erins Own against Carrigaline, Bishopstown v Valley Rovers and Duarigle Gaels v Douglas.
They will be followed by the Shield semi-finals as Mayfield take on Shamrocks, at noon and Whitechurch face Crosshaven at 12.30pm.
The cup semi-finals are scheduled for 1 and 1.30pm, with the Shield final at 2pm. The cup final is due to take place at 2.45pm, but this event can run slightly behind time.