THE first county senior football championship final at redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be an all-city affair between Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr’s.
The great rivals lock horns on Sunday week in a repeat of the 2010 final, won by Nemo by 2-10 to 1-8.
Nemo, who lead the roll-of-honour with 19 titles, easily overcame Duhallow by 5-13 to 0-12 in the first semi-final at a blustery Páirc Uí Rinn. Luke Connolly was the star of the show, scoring 3-3, and laying on the pass for the opening goal, scored by Paddy Gumley. Young Ciaran Dalton claimed the other goal.
Nemo last captured the title in 2015, when overcoming Castlehaven, and they’re the 1/3 favourites with the bookies to capture their 20th crown.
St Finbarr’s also impressed in ending Carbery Rangers’ reign as champions, running out comprehensive 3-14 to 0-14 winners in the other semi-final, to reach their first decider since 2010. The experienced Robert O’Mahony helped himself to a couple of goals and substitute Colm Keane scored the other.
The Barrs last captured the title in 1985, when they won it for the eighth time. They’re 2/1 with the bookies to end their 32-year wait.
And to ensure there’s a strong city feel to the double-header, St Michael’s will also be there in the premier intermediate final against the favourites Mallow.
Meanwhile, the club scene will be hugely impacted by the decision at Special Congress on Saturday to revamp the inter-county hurling championship.
From next summer the Munster and Leinster championships will be on a round-robin basis, two games at home and two away from each county, with the top two making the provincial finals and the three-placed teams into the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
While it will provide guaranteed home games in the new Páirc, along with the Super 8 quarter-final structure for football, it will lock down the whole summer for strong dual counties which will make club games very difficult to schedule.