LAST weekend, there were six county finals played so nine more to go, which one did you enjoy the most? Or maybe the least?
Of course, your view probably depended on whether or not you had a runner in any of the six races.
Unfortunately, being denied the privilege of having any parishioners involved, my view had to be through neutral spectacles.
However, and it probably has some to do with underlying psychological issues, one victory that caught my attention was Kanturk capturing the SAH crown, which put them in the top 12 hurling clubs teams in Cork. Some achievement for a team from the northern western sticks.
Prior to anybody accusing us of anti-Fr O’Neill's bias, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there could be nothing but sympathy for the East Cork side having to arrive on to the county final stage with three players in the infirmary.
No, the admiration for Kanturk at this stage, has all to do with their dual mandate.
I think I have lost count of the occasions when the narrative comment that followed a dual team losing a championship match 'they should concentrate on hurling (or football)'.
On Sunday week, the footballers from Kanturk will pony up to Páirc Uí Chaoimh to play the neighbours Newmarket in a high dividend premier intermediate final.
One of the big challenges, for the officers of a dual club, is to hold the line when a team manager is appointed.
I can inform you of a gentleman who would only be too willing to get involved with the aforementioned Kanturk club as their football bainisteoir and I am also more than confident that big ball success would follow.
There is only a wee issue, the ash storage room would have to be locked.
Similarly down west, a rumour that a hurling bainisteoir was successful in his policy that if one of “his” players engaged in Gaelic football activities, they would have to self isolate for a period of time.
Due to deadline constraints, the story is still only at rumour status.
Then we have Loughmore Castleiney, a small rural club in Tipperary that graze on the biggest pasture of both codes.
Last year, they reached both finals and suffered a double defeat. Of course, they were offered the immediate remedy: concentrate on one code.
Last Sunday week, they drew the hurling final with one of the aristocrats Thurles Sarsfields. On Sunday last, they donned their big ball attire against three in a row seeking Clonmel Commercials.
With the mna mór calling for backing music, Loughmore trailed by two, a ravenous turnover was applied on a hesitant defender, they gathered possession, two hand passes and it came to John McGrath, it was some goal.
The dual men climbed the steps.
So to Kanturk and their Tipperary cousins, thanks for striking a blow for dual believers and practitioners.
Staying with the dual theme, next Saturday’s junior A football final between Ballinhassig and Boherbue in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 3pm could establish the dual status of another club.
As most of you would be aware, teams from the South East outfit, have climbed many hurling Everest’s in its 135-year history.
However, when it comes to the number five, it has never contested an adult county football final until now.
A better illustration as to the standing of Gaelic football could be provided, that up to the year under review, the club won one adult county football championship match in its entire history.
Maybe, instead of mentioning statistics, in relation, to how many football final appearances, I should ask the CSO, to insert an extra question in the 2022 census form.
Prior to 2021, how many Ballinhassig folk have been to a Cork football championship match? But as the saying goes, better late than never.
They won the South East final by defeating fellow parishioners Ballygarvan and in reality that was probably as good as it was going to get.
In the first round of the county, a late surge had Tadhg MacCarthaigh wondering, as to what was happening in their dreams. Next against Douglas with extra time looming they notched a late winner.
In the past, a football team from a hurling club could make progress when the main team received their championship marching orders.
Not here, in fact, the hurling team has also had a very successful season prior to bowing out on Saturday last to championship favourites Castlelyons in the semi-final.
Just in case, you might think, that this is a crossover of two or three players. 11 of last Saturday’s starting 15 will more than likely start next Saturday. Of the 30-man panel, 23 of them are members of the PIH squad.
In terms of who will emerge victorious? Boherbue are an experienced side and won five Duhallow titles in row.
They will hope to go one step further than they did during the 2020 campaign where they were beaten in the final by Uibh Laoire in mid-August. Since that victory the Mid Cork outfit have won four Intermediate A Championship matches in a row and on Sunday week, they will contest the final of that competition against the winners of Kilshannig and Mitchelstown.
So yes you can take that Boherbue will be the favourites on this Saturday.
If and the size of the if is large and Ballinhassig win, they will be the only living players on the planet to have a junior county A football medal with not only their own club but with any other club in the current South East Division.
Carrigaline and Valley Rovers moved up the grades to premier senior without winning the junior.
The last team to do it were Kinsale in 1932. Come Saturday evening, the Kinsale men could have lost their status.
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