East Cork clubs Castlemartyr and Lisgoold flying towards a double

Having only won the delayed 2020 county finals at the end of the summer, these Imokilly outfits are on the brink of glory once more
East Cork clubs Castlemartyr and Lisgoold flying towards a double

Cup joy for Kieran Cashman and John Cashman, Lisgoold. Will they be celebrating again next weekend? Picture: Larry Cummins. 

EAST CORK clubs Lisgoold and Castlemartyr are on a double bill of county hurling finals at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this Saturday, with both chasing a second county in the space of a few months. 

Lisgoold, who play Kilbrittain in the Co Op Superstores Lower Intermediate final at 5pm, won the deferred 2020 junior decider in August. Castlemartyr were celebrating in late summer as well, after getting over Russell Rovers in the Lower Intermediate Final and now face Sarsfield's in the Co Op Superstores Intermediate A clash at 7pm.

Understandably both clubs are enjoying their Indian hurling summer, whilst at the same time trying to keep a lid on expectations.

Just 12 months ago Lisgoold were still coming to grips with winning their first divisional title at junior level and now they stand within an hour of playing in the Intermediate A grade. Chairman Noel Connery says the club is living the dream.

"We had been close without winning the East Cork title until last year so it was a great relief. We knew we had the players to deliver but they just fell short of making the big breakthrough. 

Since winning the team has played with great freedom and they have all gone from strength to strength. 

"There is a group of younger players that have come through over the last year or two that have made a big difference. Momentum is great at the moment. We looked at what Russell Rovers achieved in getting to the All-Ireland final and having run them very close, we were really looking forward to the challenge of seeing how we could do in the higher grade"

Lisgoold are coached by Aghada duo Richie Lewis and Trevor O'Keeffe while Mossie O'Connell and Liam Walsh have taken over as the new management team since the summer county win over Harbour Rovers. Now they face up to a Kilbrittain outfit who have also posted four straight wins on the way to the final. 

Kilbrittain's miserly defence, having conceded just 1-38 to finish their group games with a plus-40 scoring difference, will provide stern opposition.

Castlemartyr will be hoping that they can maintain their excellent form, averaging 2-24 per championship game since being promoted in the summer. Their clash against Sarsfield's is a repeat of the 2009 East Cork Junior final when the reds ended a 45-year wait for divisional glory. 

 Aidan Murphy and Cormac O'Driscoll, Cloughduv, battling Joe Stack and Barry Lawton, Castlemartyr. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aidan Murphy and Cormac O'Driscoll, Cloughduv, battling Joe Stack and Barry Lawton, Castlemartyr. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Since then they have progressed steadily, but for current manager Seamus Lawton, who was also in charge then, that night 12 years ago will always be very memorable.

"Yes, a very very special night that will live forever. We were playing against a very good Sars team, like anytime you play them they have excellent hurlers and are very well organised. They are always very hard to beat. We won in '09 and beat them again a few years later in a final, so good memories."

He was also manager of Mayfield when they defeated Sarsfield's to win the County Junior in 2016, en route to winning the All-Ireland in Croke Park. Now back in the red of his own club, the current team manager has huge respect for the Riverstown club.

"I saw them playing against Mayfield in the semi-final and they are very well balanced; all very good hurlers. We know what is ahead of us, if we are not on top of our game, we won't be winning. 

"There is no doubt that both teams will be totally up for it. You need a bit of luck on the day for things to go right. This summer we played them in what was a good quality game, with only a few points between us in the end."

Saturday will be a special night for all involved in Castlemartyr GAA as the team will be aiming to win the cup named after one of the club's most famous sons: the late Paddy Walsh.

"It's fantastic for everybody. All the lads are looking forward to it.

We have not played in the new Páirc ever, so it's going to be very special. 

"Paddy was such a staunch Castlemartyr man who put so much into the club. It will be a really proud day that we are playing for this cup."

After savouring the sweet taste of victory in last year's deferred finals, Lisgoold and Castlemartyr have kicked on with real momentum. But both know, big challenges await on Saturday against season campaigners Kilbrittain and Sarsfield's respectively. It makes for a fascinating double-bill.

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