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Game On

Historic Final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 4:25pm

It is probably fitting that the two most successful club sides in the county should have the honour of playing in the very first Senior County Football Final on Sunday in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, when near neighbours and keen rivals the ‘Barr’s and Nemo meet to decide the destination of the Andy Scannell Cup.

Between them they have 27 titles, Nemo 19 and the ‘Barrs eight, and the most amazing statistic of the lot is that, since the ‘Barrs won their last title in 1985, Nemo have won 12.

Nemo won the last of their 19 titles two years ago and that gives them an edge in terms of big match experience and that is a slight concern as Mick Comyns, ‘Barrs selector, explained: “Whenever you play Nemo you're playing a very good team and they have been at the top for years but we are looking forward to the challenge and it’s very exciting to be back in a senior final.”

As for the long wait since their last success, Mick has this to say: “It’s a fact that we cannot do anything about, it doesn’t put any extra pressure on us to win. The players, while they are aware of it, they are out to create their own niche for themselves and try and win a county medal.”

Winning last years Under 21 championship was very important, Mick explained: “The bulk of this team is built on that and the minors of recent years, plus the experience that Michael (Shields) and Robert (O’Mahoney) bring to the team.”

It’s been an interesting campaign for the Togher side, they were well beaten by Ballicollig in the first round but they have bounced back in spectacular style, and the manner in which they avenged that defeat and the hammering they dished out to the reigning champions Carbery Rangers, suggests they are hitting top form at just the right time - momentum can be key.

A point that captain Ian Maguire agreed with: “We have had a good run, ok we have picked up a few knocks along the way but we are happy with the way we are playing, but fully aware that Sunday represents our biggest test of all, as Nemo are the benchmark when it comes to championship.”

And Nemo manager Larry Kavanagh is equally relishing the occasion, with the old rivals in the opposite corner.

“It should be great, down the Park and all, but for us as a management team the thing is to concentrate on getting our preparations right, we leave everything else to the other sections of the club.”

Larry is pleased with the displays in recent weeks, if somewhat concerned at the concession of high scores: “We did, especially against UCC (2-16), and we were much better in the semi-final and didn’t concede a goal and got five ourselves but we know the ‘Barrs will be well prepared for anything and everything on Sunday.”

One man really looking forward to Sunday is Nemo’s ace forward Luke Connolly, whose form of late has been a major factor in his side’s wins: “It’s been great, like all forwards I enjoy scoring, but as long as we win I am not too worried about who scores.”

Luke puts his form down to an injury free run: “I have been lucky of late and hopefully that will continue but that aside we know we have a huge game on Sunday and we will have to be at our best to win.”

It has the makings of a cracking game, injury might rule out Barry O’Driscoll for Nemo and the ‘Barr’s minor star Cillian Myers Murray, and that’s a blow to both.

However there is quality on view with Michael Shields, Robert O’Mahoney, Dylan Quinn and Stephen Sherlock for the ‘Barr’s, Aidan O’Reilly, Stephen Cronin, Paul Kerrigan and Paddy Gumley for Nemo.

Picking a winner whenever these two meet is never easy, and now which such talent in both sides it’s just as hard, midfield could be key. The ‘Barr’s, with Maguire playing well there, might have an edge but on balance there is a greater spread of experience in the Nemo team, even without Barry O’Driscoll, and that might give them enough to make it title number 20, but such is the thin line between them do not rule out a draw, that’s how close it could be.

 

Premier Intermediate Football Final

 

So does that give St Michael's an advantage or Mallow a powerful motivation not to suffer a second final defeat in the space of seven days? Something for both management teams to work on. St Michaels look a bit more equipped to win.

The Blackrock hurlers, especially those not involved with St Michael's, can sit back and relax to watch Imokilly and Sarsfields battle it out to see who they will play in the senior hurling final on 22 October.

The drawn encounter was a strange affair, lacking any great intensity, but it produced some quality scores with the best from Daniel Kearney and Cian Fleming.

Of course it's a fourth week in a row that these sides will have been in action, not exactly the best preparation for a senior final, while for Imokilly they have the added complication of St Catherine’s playing on Friday night, while Aghada will also be concerned at the amount of activity their players are involved in ahead of their own final.

A change of venue might also be a factor, the tighter field means less space, who will that suit?

Imokilly looked comfortable at times and likely winners, but Sars battled away and could have snatched it the end, their spirit is good and that might just get them over the line this time round.

All three games are live on C103.

A special mention as well of the O’Donovan Rossa team of 1992 who will be introduced to the crowd on Sunday 25 years after their historic first county title win.

Castle Road will be a hive of activity over the weekend with three big games in the SE Systems Senior Championship.

First up on Saturday at 1pm is the quarter-final clash of Douglas and the champions Inniscarra are in action, with a host of Cork stars in direct opposition. This is followed at 4pm with the Milford vs Sarsfields game with the respective winners meeting in the semi-final.

On Sunday at 11.45am it’s the Senior ‘B’ semi-final between Ballinhassig and Blackrock.

While the final game is on Monday at a venue to be decided, the quarter-final replay in the senior champiomnship between Carbery and St Catherine's, with Glen Rovers awaiting the winners in the semi-final.

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