TWO clubs, Nemo Rangers and Kilshannig, remain on course for a possible football and hurling county championship double.
Indeed, the pair could collide in the final of the JHC after winning their respective divisional titles in Seandun and Avondhu.
In the case of Kilshannig, they’ve taken a big step forward after edging Duhallow winners Dromtarriffe 1-19 to 1-16 in the county quarter-final last weekend and now meet Carbery champions Ballinascarthy in Coachford on Sunday week. The south-west winners progressed by defeating Valley Rovers’ second team by 2-17 to 1-15.
The north Cork club have shown that capturing the Bon Secours county IAFC title against Aghabullogue has proved no impediment when switching codes and it’s all hurling now.
For Nemo, there are shades of 2000 about their season. Back then they defeated Carbery in the senior football final and also managed to be crowned junior hurling champions after overcoming Ballinhassig in the final.
Is a repeat on the cards after their footballers’ success against St Finbarr’s last Sunday? One club hoping to spoil the party is Erin’s Own, whose second string won the Imokilly title and face Nemo in the quarter-final in Riverstown on Sunday at 2.30.
It’s a big ask of the Trabeg club, who are likely to have nine or 10 starters from the football team in their hurling side and coming from the high of a county final victory in football to play hurling a week later will test all their credentials.
If successful, Nemo would then meet Muskerry champions Ballinora in the semi-final on Sunday week but that presents an immediate problem because of the Munster Club Senior Football Championship, a competition in which the Cork standard-bearers are sure to have a big say.
The new Cork champions are due to play Tipperary winners Clonmel Commercials at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday night week at 7.15 and clearly would not be a position to play hurling the following afternoon.
The obvious solution is to push the hurling game back a week to the 20th, the day set aside for the final itself though it could be December before it’s eventually played should Nemo continue on both fronts.
If they defeat Clonmel, Nemo would then meet the Limerick champions, Newcastle West or Adare, in the semi-final in Limerick on the 27th with the final scheduled for Saturday night December 10.
The smart money is on a Nemo-Kerins O’Rahillys final. The Kerry club champions take on either the Clare winners, Eire Og, Ennis, or the Waterford champions The Nire in the semi-final. They meet on Sunday week at a Clare venue.
The upshot of all this is that if Nemo keep winning they will be very busy players at a time of year set aside for rest and recuperation though the return of inter-county training later this month blows a hole in all of that kind of stuff, as well.
The first installment of the so-called split season has generally been well received though the doubters question the timing of the flag-ship All-Ireland finals in hurling and football during the summer instead of the traditional September dates.
From a player’s perspective Nemo and Cork keeper Micheal Aodh Martin is in no doubts about the positivity of the new-look landscape.
After Cork’s season-ending defeat by Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, Martin went straight back into Nemo’s campaign with designs on reclaiming the Andy Scannell Cup, which they achieved following their exciting county final victory. He’s a big fan of the split season.
“I think it’s brilliant. I live with three lads playing with Nemo and they’re able to have a life, go on holidays in early summer and the league games are well-structured. It makes perfect sense to me,” he said.
“I haven’t heard any player who’s against it and I can only see the positives. When you’re with Cork it’s 100% with Cork and when you’re with the club, it’s 100% with the club.”
Mention of the league, Nemo’s win over the ’Barr’s doubled up with the final of the Cork Credit Unions Division 1 League so it was two for the price of one for the 23-times county champions, who are unbeaten in 2022.