Irresistible force Iveleary face immovable object that is Mitchelstown

Mark Woods previews Sunday's intriguing IAFC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Irresistible force Iveleary face immovable object that is Mitchelstown

Thrilled Iveleary celebrate their victory in the Bon Secours JAFC final. Picture John Tarrant

Sunday: Bon Secours County IAFC final: Mitchelstown v Iveleary, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 1pm

IT really is a classic case of the irresistible force that is Iveleary colliding head-on with the immovable object in Mitchelstown in this decider.

The delayed 2020 season yielded contrasting emotions with Iveleary storming to the county junior title in the style of true champions while Mitchelstown were left licking their wounds at losing the intermediate A decider to Rockchapel.

Now, the pair are back in a county final once more with the promise of premier intermediate football on the table for the champions.

Iveleary have comfortably carried last season’s form into a higher grade suggesting they’re capable of climbing a few more rungs. Their scoring returns are bewildering. In qualifying with three wins from three in their group, the Muskerry side posted 0-25, 0-18 and 3-18 to easily top their section.

Iveleary even went better in the more competitive knock-out phase, grabbing 5-12 and 3-14 against Glanworth and Aghabullogue in the quarter-final and semi-final.

Their much-vaunted forward division is all the rage, including Chris Óg Jones and Cathal Vaughan, two players who wouldn’t be out of place on the highest stage.

Captain Brian Cronin is a capable finisher as is Conor O’Leary and there’s plenty of scoring ammunition elsewhere, too.

At the other end, keeper Joe Creedon is highly rated and overall Iveleary possess a well-balanced side with a strong bench, too.

You’d imagine Mitchelstown shouldn’t even turn up given Iveleary’s star-billing, but the north Cork side are on a mission.

They were still reeling from the Rockchapel defeat, when setting out against Aghabullogue, but the Town regrouped after this defeat, responding well against Glanmire and Kildorrery before having to negotiate choppy waters in the knock-out stage.

 Mitchelstown centre-back Shane Beston drives out of defence past Kilshannig's Kieran Twomey and Tom Cunningham. Picture: David Keane.
Mitchelstown centre-back Shane Beston drives out of defence past Kilshannig's Kieran Twomey and Tom Cunningham. Picture: David Keane.

They outscored Ballydesmond 3-15 to 2-11 to reach the last four, where a fancied Kilshannig awaited but for long spells it looked like the end of the road for Mitchelstown.

Already missing Mark Keane, who headed back to Australia, they then lost Cathail O’Mahony to injury in the first half and still managed to prevail, winning by 2-11 to 1-13.

It’s this never-say-die approach that makes worthy finalists and their team is sprinkled with talent, ranging from keeper Liam Hanna and Shane Beston in defence, Sean Walsh at midfield to goal-scorer Dave Dineen up front.

Several of their players have tasted county final glory with Ballygiblin hurlers, who secured the junior title, and there’s nothing quite like success to breed further success.

Logically though, Iveleary appear to have all the aces, but anything could happen.

The county junior B championship continues tomorrow with Douglas’s third team taking on Randal Óg in Brinny at 3pm for a place in the final against Dripsey.

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