MINORS on Monday returns to Páirc Uí Rinn next week as the Premier 1 MHC final takes place.
In a busy few days of Rebel Óg games, there are two minor Premier 2 hurling championship semi-finals tonight. Tomorrow sees two U15 finals take place before another two finals on Monday night.
Tonight, Killeagh take on Bride Rovers and Shandrum face Erin’s Own at the Mardyke, at 6.45pm and 8.15pm respectively, in what should be lively encounters.
Killeagh started their campaign with a good win over Erin’s Own and followed it up with wins over Bishopstown and Inniscarra to reach the knock-out stages.
With three groups in this competition, two sides were going straight to the semi-finals and four others to the quarter-finals. With Killeagh topping their group they were in line for one of the semi-final spots, which came down to scoring differences. Once they were totted up Killeagh went straight to the semis.
Erin’s Own were also in their group and to their credit recovered from that loss to Killeagh with wins over Bishopstown and Inniscarra to take second spot in the group and a place in the quarter-finals.
Shandrum also went through the round-robin stages undefeated, with wins over Bride Rovers, Mallow, and St Catherine’s to take a place in the semi-finals.
Bride were the other side to come out of this group to set up a quarter-final clash with Aghada. The Rathcormac side were in top form that night as they defeated their opponents to set up their semi-final clash with another East Cork side in Killeagh this evening.
Both Killeagh and Shandrum will start as favourites tonight but the extra game will have helped their opponents so they are more than capable of upsetting the odds.
It’s two more derby clashes in the U15 finals tomorrow as neither Midleton or Sarsfields will want to lose to their near-neighbours in the championship final. The same can be said of Ballincollig and Éire Óg in the challenge cup decider, which should make for two great games at the Mardyke tomorrow afternoon.
Monday night will kick off with the meeting of Glen Rovers and Sarsfields in the challenge cup decider.
Both sides will have been disappointed with their championship campaigns overall, but such was the small margins in the round-robin stage it was only in the last game that were knocked out.
However, both will be determined to end their season on a high tonight in a game to close to call.
In the championship final, it’s probably a slight surprise to see these two reach the decider as they would not have been among the favourites to come through.
But if the semi-finals are anything to go by then this has the potential to be a cracker.
Midleton are packed with top-class players and are led by two of them – joint captains Zach Smith and Tadhg O’Leary Hayes. Add in the likes of Dara Scanlon, Alex Moloney, Cian Lambe, and Daniel Garde and they are going to take some stopping.
They got the better of a good Ballincollig side in the semi-final and will go in Monday’s decider in confident form.
Douglas are also in the football decider and having to play that semi-final a week ago will have hampered their preparations for tonight.
But they are well used to it at this stage having had to do the same in the group stages — switch between hurling and football every week.
Their clash with Valleys in the semi was a close and tense and a late Joe Hartnett goal proved decisive in the end.
Along with Cathal Hallahan, Robert Hanley, and Christopher O’Keeffe he will be one of the players they will look to in what they hope will be a double success for the club.
They were in this position a number of years ago and won the hurling before losing the football and will be hoping to go one better this year.
Premier 2 Hurling Championship semi-finals: Killeagh v Bride Rovers, 6.45pm; Shandrum v Erins Own, 8.15pm, both at the Mardyke.
U15 Premier 1 Hurling Championship Challenge Cup final: Eire Og v Ballincollig, Mardyke, 2pm.
U15 Premier 1 Hurling Championship final: Sarsfields v Midleton, Mardyke, 3.45pm.
Premier 1 Hurling Championship final: Midleton v Douglas, Pairc Ui Rinn, 8pm.
Premier 1 Hurling Championship Challenge Cup final: Sarsfields v Glen Rovers, Pairc Ui Rinn, 6.30pm.