IT’S the battle of the Rovers in the Rebel Óg Premier 1 MHC final next Monday night at Páirc Uí Rinn as Minors on Monday makes a welcome return.
For a number of years, the P1 and 2 finals have taken place on a Monday night, instigated by the last Jim Forbes, and the concept proved extremely popular with large crowds, many neutral, making their way to the venue to see the finals.
The pandemic meant a change last year, but with the easing of restrictions it was possible to reinstate the double header and no doubt supporters will be out in their numbers next Monday night.
Glen Rovers defeated the defending champions, St Finbarr’s in their semi-final, while Bride beat Ballincollig after extra-time.
Before them, throw-in 6.15pm, Shandrum face Kiltha Óg in the Premier 2 final.
At various age levels, the Rovers have enjoyed some great battles over the years and next Monday should be no different, with the game starting at 8pm.
Both sides have played some great hurling to reach the decider, with Bride’s semi-final win coming after a superb clash with the Village.
There was little or nothing between the two sides all through, despite Bride getting off to the perfect start with a goal by Nicky Kelleher with their first attack.
They backed up that good start with points from the likes of Adam Hayes and Adam Walsh. But they were up against a quality Ballincollig side and led by the likes of James Dwyer and Conor Dalton they hit back and by the second-half water break the sides were level.
That came after the Village came from two points down at half-time to lead by two and at that stage, it looked like they were going to win.
But Bride had other ideas and led by their Cork minor, Cillian Tobin, they scored late on to take it to extra-time.
In the first half of that Tobin, Walsh, and Louie Roche upped their games and when the latter goaled it put them 1-4 ahead by the break.
They will be some of the players they will look to as they bid to stop the famed northside club.
The Glen side have been going about their business quietly and in Mark Kennefick have a manager that will have them well prepared.
But, despite beating a fancied Barrs side, he won’t be taking anything for granted and will be well aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
A good start helped the Glen to victory with Stephen Lynam raising the green flag early on, on his way to 1-6 on the day.
Cork minor Eoin O’Leary was another to impress for the winners, rowing in with 1-5 on the day, with Charlie Hurley also contributing to their 2-17 total.
The Glen will start as slight favourites but on the night that will count for nothing and both sides know it’s going to be a battle and it would be no great surprise if there is only a point or two in it at the end of play.
Records may not be correct but they indicate the last time these two sides met in this final was in 1932 when a certain Jack Lynch was in the Glen side.
They were a young team and lost out by 5-1 to 2-1, but went on to win the title the following year. Afterward the Glen objected to some of the players in the Bride side on the day, but a report from the next county board meeting stated they were not able to uphold their claims.
Kiltha Óg reached the final after their win over Kinsale, where they had to come from behind to win.
The East Cork side started poorly and at one point in the first half were six points down, but recovered to take the lead.
Cork minor, James Leahy, along with John Ahern and Colin Murphy saw them recover from that deficit to just a point early in the second-half. They kicked on and by the water break were a point to the good.
Kiltha Óg stretched that lead further, but Kinsale responded and it took a good save to deny Cathal O’Leary a goal, with Leahy securing their two point win in injury-time. Leahy and O’Leary will be key players as they take on the North Cork outfit, a combination of Newtownshandrum and Dromina.
Kieran Murphy, Eoin O’Mahony, and Stephen Minihane were among the prominent players for Shandrum and they will need good displays from them and the likes of Tom McCarthy, Rory, and Robert Troy to have any chance on Monday night.
Premier 1 MHC final: Glen Rovers v Bride Rovers, 8pm.
Premier 2 MHC final: Shandrum v Kiltha Óg, 6.15pm.
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