Wednesday 12 December 2018

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Under 21 finals complete season

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:40pm

Fr O'Neills vs Midleton

Given that the senior and minor titles already reside in the barony of Imokilly, this decider ensures that the Premier 1 Under 21 Championship will also find a home in East Cork for the next 12 months.

Both had impressive wins in their respective semi-finals last Saturday, and while the O’Neill's win was more empahatic, the manner in which Midleton saw off the challenge of a fancied Douglas side is an indication that the Magpies are on the rise again, even if they were disappointed with their showing in the senior final.

There’s is a very young side backboned by the minors that had an excellent win in the county final over Blarney.

Sean O’Leary Hayes is a solid and skillful defender and gets excellent support from Seadna Smith and Cathal Gunning.

Their midfield pairing of Cormac Beausang and Cian Farmer are hard grafters, and in attack Ross O’Regan, Tommy O’Connell and Garran Manley can trouble any defence.

By contrast, the majority of the O’Neill’s players are in their last year at this grade and that gives them an edge as they are a big strong physical side and are well able to hurl.

Ger Mellerick, Daniel Harrington and Sean O’Connor anchor a defence that confined Blackrock to just 0-3 from play last week and Cillian Broderick got 0-5 in a very confident performance in the middle of the park.

Declan Dalton, Billy Dunne and Jason Hankard are all quality attackers.

Local derbies in finals, and at this stage of a long season, tend to take on a life off their own, and while the odd’s favour O’Neill’s, Midleton come into the game with a huge tradition of winning behind them and that will help this young and emerging team.

That aside there’s a bit more about Fr O’Neill’s and they get the nod to win.

The big advantage here lies with a very promising Bride Rovers side who have had a great season to date winning the Premier 2 League and Championship double and with their opponents, whoever they will be, heavily involved in Munster Championship action of late, preparation will have been hindered. With all these factors, it looks like a Bride Rovers win.

The heartbreak of previous final defeats will surely drive this talented Mourneabbey team on as they bid to end their long wait for a title, something they would dearly love to win.

Standing in their way this time are Dublin side Foxrock-Cabinteely who had a late and dramatic victory over Donaghmoyne in the semi-final.

Amy Ring, Roisin McGovern, Fiona Claffey, Laura Nerney, Aisling Tarpey and Jodi Egan are key players for the Leinster champions who, like Mourneabbey, are seeking a first title.

As ever, the O’Sullivan sisters, among them All-Stars Doireann and Ciara, and Eimear Harrington, Roisin O’Sullivan, Maire O’Callaghan and Brid O’Sullivan have soldiered long and hard in their bid to win the one medal missing from their impressive collection.

That desire might be enough to finally get them over the line.

Glanmire are also in All-Ireland final action over the weekend when they take on Tourlestrane from Sligo in the Junior Final, and this is a major achievement for a team in its infancy; let's hope they can complete what has been a remarkable journey.

On Saturday two more leagues will conclude; in Division 1 hurling it’s Ballinahssig vs Courcey Rovers in Páirc Uí Rinn at 2.30pm, while at the same time in Donoughmore, St Michael's play Boherbue in the Junior ‘A’ Football decider.

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