Paudie Palmer: How important is Munster club success for the wellbeing of Cork GAA?

Rebel sides have endured mixed fortunes outside the county, particularly at the top tier of hurling
Paudie Palmer: How important is Munster club success for the wellbeing of Cork GAA?

Ballygiblin's Darragh Flynn hammers home his goal against Cooligan during the AIB Munster JHC semi-final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

SHOULD I call on Johnny Logan for this week’s intro? 

Although it is almost 40 years ago since What’s Another Year was a smash hit. It's now a byword for GAA disappointment. Some might argue that it's becoming too acceptable in terms of the lack of Cork hurling silverware.

Before the Munster club hurling semi-final between St Finbarr’s and Ballyea we were reminded it was 2009 when the last Cork team, Newtownshandrum, won the trophy. The wait will now extend into a 14th year.

However, in relation to the latest loss, we'll have to argue that some defeats have positives attached. The Barrs were every bit as good as the Banner representatives and playing with 14 for a long period had to be a crucial factor. 

In relation to the sending-off, Conor Cahalane was somewhat unlucky. The Castlehaven footballer has enjoyed a very influential role with this Barrs team from the very start of the season.  

The influence of the youth movement was again in evidence which can only auger well for the future. 

The pity is defeat denies the club added opportunities to further enhance their standing in the community. Last year on the journey to the All-Ireland football semi-final, their talented social media gurus played an absolute blinder. I was looking forward to more of the same. 

Overall though, what a year for the Blues. 

A dejected Ethan Twomey at Cusack Park. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
A dejected Ethan Twomey at Cusack Park. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Inniscarra also tasted defeat, in the intermediate championship. They can have no complaints in so far as they were defeated by a superior Roscrea team, but it won't take from a most special season.

The final team on Munster duty was Ballygiblin and I was in Páirc Uí Rinn to witness their clash with Colligan from Waterford. Up to recent times, I hadn’t heard of this Déise outfit, who sound more like a surname than a GAA club. A Dungarvan gentleman filled me in beforehand. 

Because of the restructuring of the championships in Cork, the North Cork team were representing the county for the second year in a row. Twice in the first five minutes, we were treated to the sight of Mark Keane in a backward motion fetching  superbly over his head. It was an indication that there were well in the zone for this one. 

In the first period, two goal chances arose. Nine minutes in Darragh Flynn finished superbly. Ten minutes later with Ballygiblin leading 1-5 to 0-6, a long delivery ended in the champions' goalmouth, Waterford hurler Colin Dunford attempted an overhead pull but it didn’t come off. In the next five minutes Flynn, Cathail O’Mahony (2) and Joseph O’Sullivan pointed and from there on, there were in command.

POWER

A striking feature of the team apart from its hurling ability is the presence of some serious buachaillí mór, such as Fionn Herlihy, Ryan Donegan, Shane Beston, Sean O’Sullivan, Joseph O’Sullivan and obviously Keane. 

Ballygiblin's Mark Keane tussles with Grangemockler Ballyneale's Mike Lyons. Picture: Diarmuid Brennan/Sportsfocus
Ballygiblin's Mark Keane tussles with Grangemockler Ballyneale's Mike Lyons. Picture: Diarmuid Brennan/Sportsfocus

Next up St Kieran's from Limerick in the Munster Final on Sunday week. A wee concern for some of them but  not all is that Shane Beston is getting married on the day before!  

After the game, I was fortunate enough to meet with some of their supporting army and without knowing anything about their backgrounds, they were abundantly clear in their views that the length of winter is directly linked  to how long their on-field warriors can stay in the race. Many of you will understand the real meaning of those sentiments. You can take it that for many of the residents of this small North Cork location, the distraction from the challenges of this time of year will be provided by conversations relating to the upcoming final with the wedding adding to the mix.

RANKING

So that was the hurling, this weekend, the county’s two remaining football representatives will enter the semi-final the arena  at 1pm on Saturday. Kanturk face Rathmore in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the intermediate championship while Kilmurry will travel north to Templetouhy for an engagement with Thurles Sarsfields in the junior penultimate stage. 

Team rankings may not be the most accurate of methods in predicting outcomes but for what it is worth let us have a look at this one. According to our scientific method, Rathmore would be the eighth-best team in Kerry while Kanturk are at 24 in this county. 

Since the competition commenced in 2003, Cork teams have made just four victory speeches. 

When Kilmurry head north on Saturday some may assume as we did a few weeks back that the Cork team should triumph over the premier county representatives. Hurling is the main game at Thurles Sarsfields but the informants tell us that they do play football up there and with the hurlers out of their championship for a while, the big ball has received some extra attention. 

They were without a coach earlier on, but of late,  former Carbery Rangers footballer and Tipp manager Peter Creedon has been involved. Creedon is considered an excellent coach. The fact that both his parents came from the Kilmurry parish will add a little extra. 

Former Tipperary manager Peter Creedon. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE
Former Tipperary manager Peter Creedon. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE

Michael Cahill the former Tipperary hurler, Paddy Creedon. Darragh Stakelum, Henry Fogarty and James Armstrong are among their leading players.

As a matter of interest, the other semi-final which throws in at the same time will feature Fossa, with the two Cliffords, and Feohanagh Castlemahon.  A Kilmurry-Fossa showdown would shorten the winter for many of us!

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