Cork GAA: League finals will be stand-alone fixtures

Secondary competitions remain on hold until after the championship knockout stages have been finalised
Cork GAA: League finals will be stand-alone fixtures

Douglas' Mark Harrington wins the sliotar from Kanturk's Colin Walsh during the Co-Op Superstores Cork PSHC win at Mourneabbey, which put them through to the league final too. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE divisional finals in the RedFM Hurling League and Cork Credit Unions Football League are likely to remain as stand-alone fixtures, even if the competing sides meet each other in the latter stages of the county championships.

Prior to the implementation of the split-season, the knockout section of the leagues was generally not played until after the championship but this year all of the regular fixtures were completed before the beginning of the championships in late July.

Some of the semi-finals were also played — including the last-four fixtures in Division 1 of the football, where Nemo Rangers beat Éire Óg and St Finbarr’s overcame Cill na Martra — while the Division 1 hurling semi-finals were doubled up with Co-op SuperStores Premier SHC ties.

Blackrock beat Sarsfields in the opening weekend of hurling fixtures and then last Saturday Douglas’s victory against Kanturk meant that they advanced to meet the Rockies in the league decider.

At inter-county level, the 2020 Allianz Hurling League final was also the Munster SHC quarter-final between Limerick and Clare, but that was a special case due to the nature of the unprecedented situation thrown up by Covid-19.

In 2021, there was no hurling league final, with Galway and Kilkenny sharing the title — if the counties had met each other in the championship, that game would have acted as the decider.

However, in Cork this year, if the later part of the Premier SFC was to throw up a city derby between Nemo and the Barrs — winners of the last five county titles between them — or a hurling clash between Blackrock and Douglas, who have met in the past two seasons, then those games would not have dual purpose.

The fact that each of the leagues has a sponsor separate from those in effect for the championship means that the finals will be held later in the year when scheduling allows.

Courcey Rovers qualified for the Division 2 hurling final after they beat Inniscarra in July — their opponents will be determined by the result of the Ballincollig v Kilworth Premier IHC clash in Fermoy on August 28.

 Conor O'Leary, Ballincollig, looks at his scoring options against Kilworth last season. When they meet in championship at the end of the month it will double up as a league semi-final. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Conor O'Leary, Ballincollig, looks at his scoring options against Kilworth last season. When they meet in championship at the end of the month it will double up as a league semi-final. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Should that game finish level after 60 minutes, the two sides would each receive a point in their championship group, but extra-time would be played to determine which of them advances to the league final.

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