THE U20 All-Ireland final against Galway, which was set for Thurles this Saturday afternoon, has been refixed for Tuesday, August 17 at 7.30pm, after a positive Covid case caused its original postponement.
Pat Ryan and his selectors guided the Rebels to the title just four weeks ago, as the 2020 championship was already delayed due to Covid, and the 2021 installment was put back 10 days after one of the players tested positive, and all players and management were deemed as close contacts.
Interestingly, if the Cork seniors are beaten this weekend in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny, then Alan Connolly and Shane Barrett will be eligible to rejoin the U20 squad. Under current rules, they're tied up with the senior panel after coming on against Limerick, Clare and Dublin.
Last Wednesday the U20s held on against Limerick in a thrilling Munster final against Limerick that doubled as an All-Ireland semi-final, with Pádraig Power, Darragh Flynn, Ciarán Joyce, Jack Cahalane (below) and Daire O'Leary among the key players. O'Leary went off injured in the fourth quarter and his fitness in the pivotal full-back berth will be vital against a Galway outfit built around the Tribe's successful minor crops of recent seasons.
Kieran Kingston and the senior hurlers are back in the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 2018 where they face Leinster champions Kilkenny this Sunday, 3.30pm. An attendance of 24,000 will be permitted, a significant jump on the 4,400 in Thurles for the quarter-final but not enough to satisfy the demand of the Rebel faithful.
On Monday next, August 9, the Cork minors collide with Waterford in the Munster final in Thurles. The prize will be an All-Ireland final shot at the winners of Kilkenny and Galway.
Noel Furlong's charges have looked the part in beating Clare and Limerick, with Ben O'Connor, Diarmuid Healy, Kevin Lyons and Jack Leahy the standout performers.
However, Cork only managed one Munster title since 2008, in 2017 when a crop that included Rob Downey and Ger Millerick reached the All-Ireland before losing to Galway.
The Rebels haven't won the minor All-Ireland since 2001, when Kieran 'Fraggie' Murphy, Setanta Ó hAilpín and John Gardiner were among the star names.
The Cork minor footballers are also in a Munster final next week. Their reward for a win over Kerry in the Páirc is a tie against Limerick, on Wednesday in Semple Stadium.
Both provincial finals will have crowds of 4,000 in attendance; up to now, they'd been capped at 500.