A place in the county junior A football championship decider awaits the winners of the Passage-Boherbue semi-final in Mallow tomorrow evening at 7pm.
The other last-four tie involving Kilmacabea and Iveleary has been put back until Cork’s involvement in the championship comes to an end due to Kilmacabea’s Damien Gore, who is vying for a start against either Limerick or Waterford next month.
Accordingly, whoever emerges tomorrow will have a long wait to determine whether their 2021 grading will be intermediate A or remaining in junior ranks with the Seandún and Duhallow boards maintaining an interest in the outcome.
Getting to the final is the only plan of action in either camp as city champions Passage attempt to resurrect former glories from the golden age of football in a club steeped in hurling.
Last season’s divisional success against Delanys ended a 26-year gap since their last triumph, the 4-11 to 0-9 win over St Nick’s in the 1994 final.
Passage qualified for the semi-finals of the county but lost to the eventual champions, Erin’s Own, who defeated Kiskeam in the final.
But, it was the period from the late 1970s to the 'mid-80s that Passage left its mark in football, surging through the grades from junior B to reaching the semi-final of the ’84 senior championship, where they went toe-to-toe with a crack St Finbarr’s outfit.
They were crowned junior A champions in 1982, overcoming dreadful winter conditions in mid-November in Cloughduv to edge Knocknagree by 1-4 to 0-6 in the final and Passage also had to survive playing with 14 men.
It was a team backboned by a brilliant half-back line of Robert Cole, David Keane, who later guided Limerick to a hat-trick of All-Ireland U21 hurling titles, and the outstanding Terry Howard.
The late Jim O’Sullivan was a colossus at midfield while the O’Reilly brothers, Ciaran and Kevin, tormented many a defence.
Yet, they had a large slice of luck because the game’s only goal came five minutes from the end, when a speculative Keane lob ended in the net.
The city club again scored the only goal in a 1-6 to 0-7 victory in a replay which earned promotion to senior ranks before the team splintered and Passage returned to junior ranks.
Two years ago, the club also appeared in the county section, when both divisional finalists competed, but they endured a chastening experience against the champions Kilshannig.
Now, they’re back in the last four following last week’s 2-10 to 2-5 win over Urhan, when goalkeeper Anthony Kidney’s excursions up field to kick frees and ’45s reaped 1-3.
A second goal from substitute Marc Guinane increased Passage’s advantage to 2-7 to 0-4 before Urhan mounted a revival.
Shane Howard and Sean Harrington were prominent up front as Passage gear up for what will be a formidable challenge from a Boherbue side appearing in the county stage for the fourth successive season.
But, the Duhallow representatives haven’t enjoyed much success or luck, twice denied in the quarter-finals by St James in 2019 and Kilmacabea in 2018, their opponents making it to the finals, only to lose.
In 2017, Boherbue bowed out at the quarter-final stage to Iveleary so last week’s 1-14 to 2-9 win against Valley Rovers’ second string represented a much-needed change in fortunes.
They started slowly, conceding two early goals to fall 2-2 to 0-4 down before hitting seven unanswered points to lead by three at the interval.
Liam Moynihan scored Boherbue’s goal with Denis McCarthy contributing 0-6 and Andrew O’Connor and Gerry O’Sullivan 0-3 apiece.
Passage’s enthusiasm will be countered by Boherbue’s greater experience in what’s expected to be a tight affair.
The semi-finals of the junior Bchampionship, not to be confused with the competition for clubs of the same grade, take place also.
Tomorrow, city champions Whitechurch face Carrigaline in Ballinlough at 7pm and on Sunday it’s Aghada against Mallow in Watergrasshill at 3pm. The final is listed for July 9-11.