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Sport

Focus turns to Munster club championships

Wednesday, 31st October, 2018 4:36pm

With all bar the county under 21 championships complete, the attention will now switch to the Munster club championships and the completion of the various hurling and football leagues.

Munster Intermediate Football

Fermoy vs Galbally

This could very well be classed as a local derby, such is the proximity of both clubs, even if they are representing their respective counties.

Galbally defeated Rathkeale to win the Limerick title, which is a fair achievement given the size of the parish, and they will relish this challenge as they, like Fermoy, look forward to playing senior football next year.

They have a number of experienced players in their ranks, among them Tom Davern, Mike Donovan, Liam Casey, Kieran Hickey and John Kearns.

Fermoy will have celebrated hard after their win over St Michaels, and while they were delighted to win, they can and will play better.

In the immediate aftermath of that victory, manager Mike Hennessey said they would celebrate, but stressed that they would give the Munster Championship a right go.

“It’s a very important championship and an opportunity to play a big game in our own field, so we will prepare properly and give it our best shot.”

There's is a well balanced side, and with Tomas Clancy, Ruairi O’Hagan, Liam Clancy, Jack Hutchings, Padraig Clancy, and Darragh O’Carroll, they have quality players.

Home advantage and the desire to extend their season should be enough and it would constitute a major surprise if Fermoy were not to win a game that has a 1.30pm throw in.

Munster Intermediate Hurling

Charleville vs Lixnaw

A real quick turnaround for the newly crowned Cork champions makes it that bit more difficult in that they have to travel to the North Kerry venue for Saturday’s encounter which starts at 1.30pm.

Lixnaw, like most of North Kerry, is a hotbed of hurling and any team that goes to and wins in Cashel as they did, deserves respect and I am sure Charleville will afford them that, and of course, they are the senior champions in the Kingdom.

One of their key players is Shane Conway; he scored 0-14 in the win over Cashel and also impressed with UCC in the county championship over the summer and the Charleville defence will need to be at their best to curb this talented hurler.

A concern would be that they only had three scorers in the Munster quarter-final; Colin Sweeney and John Buckey the others, but they get good support from Shane McElligot, Ricky Heffernan and Brian McAulliffe.

The big concern for Charleville will be the short time span between the games and of course the celebrations that followed, and rightly so, it’s no mean feat to go from junior to senior in the space of eight years.

They do of course know what’s required having traveled this route when they won the junior title, going all the way to Croke Park.

Coach Ben O’Connor made the point after Monday’s final. “We will enjoy the next couple of days, and we will get together Thursday or Friday and then give it our best shot, Lixnaw are a good side, but we want to try and win the Munster title, so we will see how it goes.”

It will also be their third week in a row playing a championship game and the two games against Courceys were tough and energy-sapping encounters, which could be a factor.

That said they will be favourites - Cork teams against Kerry opposition will always be fancied - but Kanturk got it tough last year, so that will have been a warning.

Charleville, with their stated ambition of playing senior achieved, will probably play with a bit more freedom and in Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Kavanagh, Andrew Cagney, Jack Doyle and Jack Buckley, they have very good players.

If they can get their focus right, they should win, but it will be a tough and testing hour, especially being in Lixnaw.

County championships

A number of important games are down for decision, with Under 21 Championship matches topping the bill, as the big push to complete the hurling gets underway, complicated by a couple of factors.

Charleville’s and St Finbarr’s involvement in Munster club action, and the upcoming Cork hurlers trip to Boston, all make scheduling some games difficult.

The football final goes ahead in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night at 7.30pm where Nemo Rangers will be strongly fancied to overcome Kilmurry, who had a surprising but well deserved victory over Douglas in the semi-final. Interestingly, Kilmurry are coached by former Nemo star Aodh Quinlivan.

The curtain-raiser here is the Junior B Football Final at 5.45pm between Russell Rovers and Castletownbere.

Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 1.30pm is also the venue for the Under 21 B Hurling Final between Kildorrery and Sarsfields.

General

A fabulous weekend of championship games saw five teams crowned county champions with some great games, especially the Senior Football decider, as it showed the game at its best. Quality scores, high fielding and plenty of drama, and what emotion as the ‘Barr’s ended 33 years of heartbreak. Congrats to all the winners and also well done to the defeated finalists on the part they played.

The GAA lost two outstanding servants in the last few days.

Former referee Joe O’Leary of Nemo Rangers passed away after a short illness. Joe was a real character and enjoyed his refereeing career, which was a lengthy one.

I heard a lovely story about Joe on Saturday night from a former Cork minor player, who was playing a football championship match with his club a few weeks before the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final of 1964. He got into a bit of a skirmish, and as Joe arrived, our friend knew if he was sent-off he was out of the final. Appealing to Joe’s better nature, he got the following reply: “It’s alright boy, I know the score, just be careful!”

He stayed on the field, and a few weeks later, won his medal.

On Sunday, a short few hours before the County Football Final, Mick Archer passed to his eternal reward. Mick was another gregarious character and as hurler and footballer rendered his beloved Blues. He also played in many grades with Cork, tremendous service which was reflected in the attendance of so many of his former colleagues at his funeral.

Sincere sympathy to the family and friends of both gentlemen.

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