IAHC final preview: Cloughduv can edge Dungourney rematch

Mid-Cork side won by two points when clubs met in group stage
IAHC final preview: Cloughduv can edge Dungourney rematch

From left, Dylan Healy (Dungourney), Gillian Foley (retail marketing manager, Co-op SuperStores), Sinéad O'Keeffe (Cork GAA commercial director) and Eoghan Clifford (Cloughduv) pictured at Páirc Uí Chaoimh prior to the Co-op SuperStores Cork IAHC final. Picture: Jim Coughlan

IT'S a quirk that three of the five Cork hurling championship finals being contested over the next two weekends will be rematches.

Whether the advantage lies with the teams winning the first game is of course something that you don’t know until afterwards – a bit like having the quarter-final bye can be a hindrance when you lose the semi-finals.

Cloughduv were one of only four of the nine teams that received semi-final byes to make positive use of it, beating last year’s Lower IHC winners Lisgoold after extra time. Now, the task is to repeat their group-stage 2-18 to 1-19 win over Dungourney in Grenagh and Eoghan Clifford knows it won’t be easy.


“I suppose it’s always hard to beat a team twice,” he says.

“They’re in a very handy position, they can very easily get up for it but it’s a county final and there’s going to be pressure on everyone. If you can’t get up for that, you don’t deserve to be there.

“It’s more excitement than anything else, to be honest. We were there in 2019, after just coming up, and we lost to Blackrock that day.

“We’re delighted to be back in the final.”

Clifford was 17 when Cloughduv lost the 2015 junior A final to Dungourney after a replay. Having been junior since 2002, it took until 2018 to escape that grade, beating Russell Rovers.

Since the introduction of the group stages, Cloughduv have reached quarter-finals and semi-finals, losing to Sarsfields and Castlemartyr respectively.

Now, they have made the final and, while Clifford knows it will be another tough test, he hopes they are primed and ready.

“Every game we’ve played this year, there has been nothing in it, between Aghabullogue, Dungourney. Even the last day, the draw against Lisgoold and then winning it after extra time.

The bodies and the minds were well-battered at that stage, it was a case of digging it out.”

Brian Verling scored 1-11 for Cloughduv in the semi-final win while his brother Mark and Mark Walsh each accounted for four points.

Dungourney saw off last year’s beaten finalists Sarsfields in the semis, benefiting from a searing start. Ryan Denny and Jack Leahy provide much of the firepower for the East Cork side, while Shane Hegarty brings valuable experience having been a key man for Imokilly.

As both sides usually play in green and gold jerseys, both will change for the final. As with the group game, Cloughduv will line out in white tops with green and gold trim while Dungourney will be in gold with a green sash, which is a reversal of their usual outfit.

Verdict: Cloughduv, narrowly.

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