TWO clubs who’ve been knocking on the door in the county junior A football championship in recent years finally get their chance of glory in Mallow tomorrow at 5pm.
Iveleary, who completed three-in-a-row in Muskerry, and Boherbue, who’ve gone one better in Duhallow, collide for the 2020 title to replace Kilshanning as champions.
At stake, also, is promotion to the intermediate A championship, which awaits the starter’s gun in the not too distant future.
Iveleary are attempting to become the first Muskerry winners of the Donal O’Sullivan Cup since Eire Og’s success in 2008 and we’ve all seen how they’ve risen through the grades.
They’ve endured the bitter disappointment of losing back-to-back semi-finals, against Kilshannig in 2019 and Dromtarriffe the year before.
Just two points and a point separated the teams respectively and both of Iveleary’s conquerors went on to be crowned champions.
The 2020 Mid-Cork championship concluded with a narrow one-point win over Kilmurry in the final before the delayed entry to the county phase, where Midleton awaited in the quarter-final.
The Imokilly champions tested Iveleary right through and it was only the introduction of former Cork forward Cathal Vaughan during the final quarter which gave his side an edge.
Chris Óg Jones, who represented Cork at under-age level, and Conor O’Leary supplied the goals in a 2-12 to 2-6 victory to set-up another semi-final, this time against Carbery champions Kilmacabea, no strangers at the business of the county either.
That game was played last weekend and resulted in a surprising 5-16 to 1-8 victory for Iveleary, whose talented forward line ran amok as Jones hit 2-6, Vaughan 1-7 and Ian Jones claiming 2-0.
It means Iveleary have serious momentum going into the game with goalkeeper Joe Creedon, centre-back Sean O’Leary and captain Brian Cronin other significant players in a well-balanced side.
Boherbue easily retained their Duhallow title with a commanding display in a 1-18 to 0-6 win over Cullen in the decider.
But, they’ve found it hard going in the county stage, starting against Valley Rovers’ second string, who flew out of the blocks to lead by 2-2 to 0-4 early on.
Boherbue, though, settled and rattled off seven answered points to lead at the interval, but Valleys gave as good as they got in the second-half.
The free-taking of full-forward Denis McCarthy, who landed six, as well as Liam Moynihan’s goal helped them progress to the semi-final against Seandun champions Passage.
Once again it was tight and once more McCarthy’s half-dozen points from frees were important in their 1-13 to 0-11 triumph.
The introduction of Richard Moynihan also paid off as he accounted for 1-1 with Bryan Herlihy contributing 0-2.
As with their opponents, Boherbue have been close in the past to reaching finals, denied at the last-eight stage by Kilmacabea by 0-15 to 0-9 after a replay in 2018 and by St James by 1-11 to 0-12 the following year.
Boherbue are captained by goalkeeper Kevin Murphy, who has inter-county experience, while CJ O’Sullivan and Jack Daly have impressed in defence.
Kevin Cremin and Andrew O’Connor are key operators around the middle while Gerry O’Sullivan and Jerry O’Connor have provided important scores en route to the final.
The popular Tom Creedon Cup competition comes to a conclusion this evening with the meeting of surprise packets Adrigole and Ballingeary in the final in Macroom at 8pm.
The Beara club came through a tough group containing premier senior side Douglas, senior A club St Michael’s and Kinsale to qualify for a semi-final against O’Donovan Rossa.
Adrigole continued their winning run with a one-point victory, 0-12 to 2-5, to stay in the hunt for a first title.
They welcome back Seanie O’Sullivan from the Cork U20s and their youthful side also contains players with under-age inter-county experience in brothers David and Jason Harrington and Neil O’Sullivan while the seasoned Kevin Goggin and Cian O’Neill are other important figures.
Ballingeary emerged from a group containing Kiskeam, Macroom and Millstreet and then defeated Ballincollig by two points in the semi-final.
The outstanding Division 5 county league final between recently crowned premier intermediate champions Knocknagree and Mitchelstown is listed for tomorrow in Buttevant at 7pm.