BOHERBUE have the distinction of being the first Cork champions involved in Munster club action when they head to Ennis to take on Ballyvaughan in the opening round of what is usually a Kerry-dominated championship.
It’s also a first for the Duhallow club, who finally got over the line in the county championship after their 3-8 to 2-8 final victory over a gallant Ballinhassig a week ago.
And Boherbue, possibly, have all the advantages because Ballyvaughan are not the Clare champions, having lost for the second successive season in the final, this time to Ennistymon, who can’t represent the Banner County due to fielding a senior team.
Competition rules specify that only junior clubs can represent their county in the provincial championships so Ballyvaughan step into the breach, despite losing to Ennistymon by 0-10 to 0-7 in the final.
Boherbue might fancy their chances of making their debut a winning one and the prize is a semi-spot against the Kerry champions Gneeveguilla.
On the other side of the draw Cork referee Alan Long from the Argideen Rangers club takes charge of the quarter-final between Limerick’s Mountcollins and Tipperary’s Ballina in Mountcollins, also tomorrow, at 1.30pm.
The winners here will face Waterford’s Mount Sion, a traditional hurling club, in the other semi-final, which is scheduled for December 18-19, as is the other last-four tie.
The final itself will be played on the weekend of January 15-16.
There was no competition in 2020 due to Covid and the last champions were Na Gaeil in Kerry, who took over from Beaufort, the 2018 champions, who defeated Dromtarriffe in the final.
Only three Cork clubs have ever won the competition, Carbery Rangers in 2003, Canovee in 07, and Knocknagree in 2017.
The Duhallow club then went on to claim the All-Ireland title.
Neither Limerick, Clare, Waterford, nor Tipperary clubs have ever won the title.
Despite dominating Duhallow for the past five years, Boherbue struggled to make an impression in the county stage until this season. This will be their fourth game in less than a month and are sure to be more battle-hardened than Ballyvaughan.
After a comfortable victory over Covid-affected Aghinagh in the county quarter-final, Boherbue were forced to grind out a 1-9 to 0-11 success in the semi-final against Urhan to reach the final.
Ballinhassig were surprise finalists, but put it up to their more established opponents before Boherbue prevailed, scoring three goals via Denis McCarthy, who top-scored with 1-5, a Jerry O’Connor penalty, and Alan O’Connor, who claimed 1-2.
There’s a wealth of know-how and experience in the Cork champions, notably keeper Kevin Murphy and wing-back Kevin Cremin, who played with Duhallow in the county championship.
Conditions are usually a big influence at this time of year though the Cusack Park surface should allow for Boherbue to express themselves.