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Game On

‘Barr’s and Duhallow go head to head

Wednesday, 24th October, 2018 4:25pm

Senior Football Final

It’s been a hectic few weeks for the Duhallow footballers with three games in a row. Sunday will be the fourth, add in a gruelling period of extra-time, and it’s clear they will not be found wanting in terms of match fitness when they arrive in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

Manager Padraig Kearns, has no complaints. “It is what it is, we certainly won’t be using it as an excuse if we do lose.”

There is a view, of course, that such a scenario is ideal in terms of preparation, especially at this time of year, once injuries are avoided.

By contrast the ‘Barrs have been watching and waiting, until last Saturday, to discover their opponents, not ideal according to selector Mick Coymns. “No, not really, but it was a situation outside our control, we just got on with our own preparation and we are happy with that.”

Of course, it has also afforded the ‘Barrs the opportunity to have a good look at what awaits them.

“It did,” as Mick explains, “We learned that Duhallow are a very good team, with a strong squad, with a lot of depth and we will need to be at our best if we are to win.”

Equally Kearns accepts that the ‘Barrs will be formidable: “They are a club with a great tradition, they were in the final last year and that will stand to them.”

Kearns, though, is delighted to be at the business end of the season. “We were very disappointed how last year ended, so we set out our stall this year to go one better, and we are now where we hoped to be but we still have it all to do on Sunday.”

For Michael Shields, Sunday represents another chance to get his hands on the one medal that has eluded him throughout his career - he has everything else - a bit like his former intercounty colleague Donnacha O’Connor, and he is looking forward to the game.

“Ah sure you would have to be, it’s every player’s ambition to play in a county final. Last year was disappointing, so it’s great to get a chance to rectify that, but finals are tough and this one will be no different.”

As for that elusive medal, he laughs it off. “It’s not about me, yes it would be nice to get it, but the win is the most important thing. There is a lot of good work going on the club and it would be a nice reward for everyone if we could end the long wait.”

Yes the long wait, hard to believe its 33 years since the cup found a resting place in Togher. In that same period, the ‘Barrs have lost seven finals, two in 1990 and 1991 at the hands of Sunday’s opposition, incidentally the last time that Duhallow were crowned champions.

Will the exertions of the last few weeks effect Duhallow?

Probably not as they have a very strong panel and the starting 15 will include quality players in Lorcan O’Neill, Aidan Walsh, Kevin Crowley, the O’Connors, Fintan, Anthony and Donnacha, and the very effective Michael Vaughan.

The ‘Barrs looked in real trouble at half-time in their semi-final with Carbery Rangers but they showed commendable spirit with a brilliant second half display, spearheaded by the excellent scoring exploits of Stephen Sherlock. But the question is, what if Sherlock is held, where will the scores come from?

Ian Maguire and Shields will, as they always do, give exceptional leadership, and with Sam Ryan (although doubtful), Dylan Quinn, Enda Dennehy, Eoin Comyns and Glenn O’Connor all quality players, the ‘Barrs will be looking to these lads to deliver big games, they will need it.

For all that though, the odds favour a Duhallow win, simply because they have a better balanced team and squad to get them over the line.

Intermediate Final

The opening game on Sunday has the makings of a real cracker, a local derby between Cill Na Martra and Aghabullogue with a 1.30pm start.

Both these sides have impressed in their run to this decider with Cill Na Martra in particular knocking at the door in recent years.

Aghabullogue are probably better known for their hurling efforts over many years, but the football stock has risen considerably with some big wins recently, but a nod to Cill Na Martra to win.

Junior finals

Páirc Uí Rinn houses a really attractive double header on Saturday with the hurling and football titles up for grabs.

Cloughduv and Russell Rovers get proceedings underway at 6pm and the Muskerry side have had a look of champions about them from a long way out, and should justify that tag.

The football clash at 7.45pm brings together two teams laced with quality in Kilmacabea and Dromtarriffe, who will be endeavouring to emulate another Duhallow side, Knocknagree, and win a coveted title. This is a hard one to call, but a slight fancy for Kilmacabea.

Premier Intermediate Hurling Final

At the end of last Sunday’s encounter, a draw was the right outcome and both Charleville and Courcey Rovers will be keen to show they have a lot more in their locker when they reconvene on Monday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 3.15pm.

Charleville hit 16 wides, while Courcey’s showed their battling qualities to fashion a draw that looked beyond them heading into injury time, but Tadgh O’Sullivan’s late brace of points earned his side a deserved second chance.

It’s a trait they have shown all season, and that could be enough for them to land the title, but Charleville will hardly be as sloppy in front of goal again.

Munster Club Championships

Four Cork teams in action this weekend, and without doubt, Midleton face the toughest task when they travel to Walsh Park on Sunday at 1.30pm to play Waterford champions Ballygunner.

Midleton are in exactly the same position as Blackrock last year, and how they respond to the loss to Imokilly in the county final could shape this contest.

Ballygunner are hot favourites to win, and should, but there’s a big game in Midleton so let’s hope it comes on Sunday.

In camogie, Inniscarra with home advantage, and with two weeks preparations after the County Final, should be too strong for Limerick champions Ahane.

Éire Óg, the intermediate champions, will also enjoy home comforts with Tipperary title holders Cashel as visitors. This looks a tough encounter, and the Cork girls will need to be at their best to win.

Both games are on Sunday at 2pm.

Finally in ladies football, Mourneabbey make the trip to Cahir on Saturday for the Munster Final with former kingpins from Waterford, Ballymacarbry, providing the opposition, with the Cork champions confidently expected to retain their title.

Incidentally all five county finals in hurling and football over the weekend will be live on C103.

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