Next week will see the return of Munster Post-Primary Schools GAA action for the first time since the beginning of 2020.
Wednesday, October 6 is start-date for U15 football competitions in the province, with U16½ hurling grades commencing the following week. The U15 hurling and U16½ football championships will start in January, while the senior (U19) level will take centre-stage from the start of November.
In recent times, the top-tier competitions at U19 – hurling’s Dr Harty Cup and the Corn Uí Mhuirí in football – have had group stages leading into the post-Christmas knockout stages, but there has been a change in format for the 2021-22 campaign.
The Harty starts on November 10. With 13 schools taking part, there are six first-round games, with three winners moving forward to the quarter-finals while the other three winners, six losers and Cork city side Gaelcholáiste Mhuire contesting five second-round ties to determine the other last-eight spots.
As well as Gaelcholáiste Mhuire, Cork interest comes from Midleton CBS – the 2019 champions, ending a 13-year wait for a winner from the county – Christian Brothers College, who last that final and the 2020 decider against St Flannan’s College, and Fermoy’s St Colman’s College.
Munster PPS servicing officer Eoin Ryan is glad to be facing into a new season.
“It’s good to be getting back to some bit of normality,” he says.
“Usually, what we’d have done is start on the second week in October. We took a decision, based on county competitions up to minor level still going on, that we’d give it until the end of October so that the majority of them would be completed.
“There will be some clashes in November and December, but we can’t realistically start any later than what we’re starting.
“We have two rounds in the Harty and Corn Uí Mhuirí before Christmas and the quarter-finals are starting in January. Even then, it will be tight, things going week on week to try to be finished in time for All-Ireland dates.”
Of the 15 teams taking part in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, which starts on November 3, six of them – Skibbereen Community School, Clonakilty Community College, Coláiste Chríost Rí, Hamilton High School of Bandon, Ballincollig’s Coláiste Choilm and St Francis College, Rochestown – are from Cork.
One first-round winner – from the all-Kerry meeting of IS Killorglin and Tralee CBS – will progress to the quarter-finals. There are two Cork derbies in the opening round, with Clon facing Críost Rí and Hamilton High clashing with Coláiste Choilm.
Ryan is, as ever, grateful to the clubs around the province who provide venues to ensure that the fixture programme can be run off.
“This year, the committee took the decision, based on a number of factors like Covid and bus travel and the potential of not getting suitable neutral venues, to go with home and away draws,” he says.
“All of the competitions, bar the Harty and Corn Uí Mhuirí, are done regionally, whereby you might have to play a school in your county first and then a school from a neighbouring county. Once you get down to the quarter-final stages, you’re bringing in the four corners of the province. The Corn Uí Mhuirí and Harty are being run on an open-draw basis.
“We all know that, without clubs providing venues, we wouldn’t get anything done. Hopefully, they’ll be able to help us fulfil the fixtures this year.”
Dr Harty Cup first round (November 10): A) Ardscoil Rís v Nenagh CBS, B) Thurles CBS v St Flannan’s College Ennis, C) Blackwater CS v St Colman’s College Fermoy, D) St Joseph’s Tulla v De La Salle Waterford, E) Midleton CBS v CBC Cork, F) Cashel CS v Our Lady’s Secondary School Tempore.
Second round (November 24): Winner F v Loser B, Winner B v Loser F, Loser A v Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG, Winner C v Loser D, Loser C v Loser E (Winners A, D, E advance to quarter-finals on January 8).
Corn Uí Mhuirí first round (November 3): A) Coláiste na Sceilge v Skibbereen CS, B) St Flannan’s College Ennis v Mercy Mounthawk Tralee, C) CBS HS Clonmel v St Brendan’s College Killarney, D) Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra v Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, E) Clonakilty CC v Coláiste Chríost Rí, F) IS Killorglin v Tralee CBS, G) Hamilton HS Bandon v Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig.
Second round (November 17): Winner D v Loser C, Winner E v Loser D, Winner G v Loser B, Winner A v Loser G, Winner C v Loser F, Winner B v Loser E, Loser A v St Francis College Rochestown (Winner F progresses to quarter-finals on January 15).