I am not sure, how one should title this week’s intro?
It’s not a wish list, maybe a mention of a number of team’s who brought an extra focus to our attention during 2021.
For some clubs/teams, winning a county is peak too far, for others it’s an achievement of rarity, so to win two in one year has to be beyond special.
Five from our patch experienced that so rare twin peak occurrence, three of them, winning a 2020 and a 2021 version in the past calendar year, while two collected a pair of 2021 canisters in the past few months.
For more years than they care to remember, Uibh Laoire, who share a parish with Béal Átha An Ghaorthaidh grazed on the Muskerry JFC pasture. During the past decade, they were always business end contenders and were crowned champions in 2015 and then three in a row 2018, 2019, 2020.
In any sport the number in a row is considered a serious badge of honour.
Can Limerick hurlers make it three and you don’t need to be reminded of the blue six.
Honestly, I can’t think of too many championships on the planet where numbers in a row could be viewed as a testament to failure but winning Divisional Junior A championships could be viewed in this light.
Off course, I don’t expect you all to agree, but every victory after the first one, is achieved in part because the team failed to go on and add a county.
For the mid Cork side, after county losses in 2015, 2018, and 2019, many felt that they would remain Muskerry Junior Football inhabitants.
To make matters a tad more painful, their neighbours and fellow parishioners Ballingeary didn’t have to win a county junior football championship, to escape from the Muskerry plains, they benefitted from some promotional amnesty.
Having mentioned that, Ballingeary went on and won the 2008 intermediate title and are presently competing favourably in the Senior A Championship.
Anyway all has changed and changed utterly.
On the 7th of August, Uibh Laoire defeated Boherbue 3-11 to 0-06 in the 2020 junior A football final.
The shackles were off and after and unbeaten run and with an average winning margin of 12 points, they defeated Mitchelstown on the 5th of December on a score line of 0-20 to 0-07 in the IAFC final.
Now they are up in PIFC grade with three fellow Muskerry outfits, Cill Na Martra, Macroom and Naomh Aban.
Since they lost to Kilshannig on the 26th of October 2019, they have embarked on an 14 match unbeaten run.
Yes, they will be on our sights in 2022.
Next on the double review are Lisgoold, a small East Cork club with facilities to ensure that their people are well served in the social capital stakes. For a number of years, their big playing, ambition was to win the East Cork JAHC.
They had a few base camp experiences prior to planting their flag on the 13th of September 2020 when they defeated Cobh to take possession of the Jamesey Kelleher cup.
There wasn’t going to be a shot of East Cork titles in a row.
They needed just one escape pass and on 7th of August 2021, they defeated Harbour Rovers 2-19 to 0-16, in the 2020 County JAHC final.
They went unbeaten in the 2021 LIHC and on 26th of November they accounted for Kilbrittain in the final and on winning their second county in the one year, they again scored 2-19.
For 2022, they will compete in the IAHC in the company, of among others, four fellow Eastern outfits Aghada, Dungourney and the second teams from Midleton and Sars.
Again, we will be keeping a watching brief.
Castlemartyr, yes it took them a while and a couple of two in a rows prior to fleeing junior land.
They won the East Cork in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014. Freedom was achieved on the winning the county in 2014.
Their next county title arrived in 21st of August 2021, when they defeated Russell Rovers 1-20 to 0-11 in the LIHC final.
Thirteen weeks later, their second podium ascent became a reality, when they accounted for Sars 1-19 to 0-12 in the IAHC final.
Akin to Uibh Laoire and Lisgoold , Castlemarty’r achievement was both awesome and unique and in the 12 team 2022 PIHC, they will be accompanied by fellow eastern practitioners Castlelyons, Watergrasshill and Youghal.
The final plaudits in this missive head to Belgooly and Randal Óg.
The South East team won they club’s first ever county title when they defeated Newtownshandrum in the JBHC (Divisional) final on the 20th of November.
They doubled their money three weeks later on overcoming Randal Óg in the JBHC final.
In 2022, we will follow their progress in the SE Junior hurling championship.
The West Cork team from Ballinacarriga, a tiny rural area in a corner of Dunmanway parish, were crowned JBF champions on the 13th of November when they accounted for Goleen.
Less than five weeks later, they added a second, on this occasion, accounting for Dripsey in the JBFC (Divisional) Final.
In 2022, they will participate in the West Cork JAFC.
If any of the five teams featured, add an adult championship to their repertoire this year, I think we could convince the good editor, that the entire back page of the Echo on the day following the event would be devoted to the awesome happening.
All five are so deserving of the highest of high fives!!!