AIB Munster Club JHC final
Ballygiblin v Skeheenarinky (Tipperary)
It’s a Munster final with a difference as clubs from neighbouring parishes vie for the provincial junior title.
Less than five miles separate Ballygiblin from Skeheenarinky of Tipperary, with a stream the dividing line between the parishes. The Cork champions’ manager Ronan Dwane is anticipation a special day.
“All of our lads went to Mitchelstown CBS and 13 of their fellas did,” he says.
“They know each other well, it’s unusual at this level to have such a local game.
“We’re looking forward to it – it’s a Munster final at the end of the day and you want to enjoy it, especially when it’s such a unique occasion.”
Ballygiblin qualified for the decider with a semi-final win over Limerick’s Caherline in Kildorrery on December 12, a victory made all the more impressive by the fact that many of the team had suffered defeat with Mitchelstown in the county IAFC final against Iveleary the previous week.
Dillon Sheehan’s goal ten minutes into the second half was the key score for Ballygiblin, who had Darragh Flynn, Joseph O’Sullivan and Dean Barry in good form, and Dwane feels that having come through such a game will be of benefit ahead of what he expects to be a similar affair on Sunday.
“The day was very bad and there was a really strong wind,” he says, “it was a war of attrition, really.
“We dug in and scoring was low, 1-9 to 0-10, it was as hard to score with the wind as it was without.
“We were lucky enough to get the goal and whoever got it was going to be in a great position. We were delighted to win it and it was the kind of game that stands to a team.
“At this time of year, games are going to close so it comes down to luck as much as anything.”
Prior to the Caherline clash, the last free weekend for any Ballygiblin/Mitchelstown dual players was at the start of October and so there was some welcome respite after booking their place in the final.
“We took a week off and then went back at it,” he says.
“It was a nice novelty to be training over Christmas for a championship match, it probably won’t happen again and fellas didn’t mind.”
Ballygiblin are holding out some hope that Collingwood AFL player Mark Keane – so instrumental in helping them to win the county championship – will be available for the game but clearance is not yet guaranteed.
Skeheenarinky had a comfortable win over the Kerry intermediate champions Tralee Parnells in the quarter-finals before then seeing off Ogonelloe of Clare by 2-16 to 1-16 in the semis in Mallow the day before Ballygiblin’s win. Coached by Ballyduff’s James Lacey, they will look to Tomás Vaughan – scorer of 11 points in the semi – his brother Noel, David Hyland and captain Fionán Ó Súilleabháin for inspiration.