KANTURK players must be wondering what they’re going to be doing with themselves next weekend.
It’s been helter-skelter for the newly crowned Co-Op Superstores county senior A hurling champions, who are also in the final of the Bon Secours premier intermediate football championship.
That’s a tasty Duhallow derby against Newmarket at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday week at 3pm, when bragging rights will also be sorted.
But, Kanturk are free at the weekend and, no doubt, it will be a welcome release from all the trappings associated with big games in both codes.
At least a dozen of the hurling team which defeated Fr O’Neill’s by 3-17 to 2-13 in the final at headquarters on Sunday will be in the starting line-up for the football decider.
Whatever the outcome, barring a replay of course, the game will bring the curtain down on another memorable season for the Duhallow club before the 2022 campaign gets up and running.
And being the first club from the barony to feature in the premier senior hurling championship will only add relish to Kanturk’s prospects of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Midleton, Glen Rovers, Blackrock and St Finbarr’s.
On one front Kanturk won’t be competing in the Munster club championships this time, though, they’d probably love to have a rattle there, too, but there’s a plus to that as well.
They can store away a successful 2021 without interference from elsewhere and re-charge the batteries for the next set of challenges.
That’s something the likes of new Tipperary football champions, Loughmore-Castleiney, can’t contemplate for a while yet because they are also operating on two fronts.
Apart from representing the Premier County in Munster, there’s also the tantalising prospect of doing the same in hurling if they get over Thurles Sarsfields in next weekend’s final replay.
Their drawn game after extra-time was a thriller with all the indicators pointing to another closely fought encounter.
Should Loughmore-Castliney, who pipped Clonmel Commercials by 1-12 to 1-11 in the football final with Conor Ryan scoring 0-7 and John McGrath adding 1-2, clinch a remarkable double, they would face into a hectic December.
Now, before you start jumping and down crying ‘why didn’t they go to penalties in the hurling final just like in Cork and Kerry’? it’s too late to countenance that, though you make a very valid point.
So, let’s say Loughmore-Castleiney add the hurling title to the football, their next games would be a trip to Ennis to play Clare champions Eire Og in football on December 4-5.
Then, it would be hurling a week later to take on the winners of the Ballyea (Clare)-Ballygunner (Waterford) in the semi-final.
And if Loughmore-Castleiney progress in football, they’d encounter the Cork champions, St Finbarr’s or Clonakilty who meet on Sunday, a week later.
Mention of penalties with the ’Barr’s epic win over Castlehaven in the semi-final still fresh, didn’t Austin Stacks know how to take them in their semi-final win over divisional side St Brendan’s in the Kerry semi-final at the weekend?
A bit like the ’Barr’s, the Tralee outfit clearly had their homework done in advance of the prospect of the tie going to penalties and they converted all five with impressive accuracy and confidence.
Now, before you even start to think what a penalty shoot-out would be like between the ’Barr’s and Stacks don’t go there because it might never finish.
Stacks are involved in an all-Tralee final against Kerins O’Rahillys, the first in 85 years, with the new champions representing Kerry in Munster against either the Limerick or Waterford equivalent.
Newcastlewest fly the flag on Shannonside against The Nire, who captured the Waterford title at the weekend with a 1-7 to 0-9 victory over Rathgormac, when Aaron Ryan’s goal proved decisive.
And there’s another well-know club operating a dual mandate in Leinster after Kilmacud Crokes added the football title to the hurling by edging St Jude’s 1-7 to 1-6 in the final.
Kilmacud, though, are one of the biggest clubs in the country with effectively two separate hurling and football squads.