St Finbarr’s players, backroom team and supporters celebrate after their side’s victory in the Cork County Senior Club Football Championship Final match against Clonakilty at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Time for last Páirc Uí Chaoimh double-header

It seems as if every big game now is been played in the ‘Park and with two more finals on Sunday, the curtain will come down on what has been an extensive and dramatic few months of championship action.

Intermediate Football Final

Iveleary v Mitchelstown on Sunday at 1pm

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the men from the Muskerrry division as they first captured the county junior title and here they are now just 60 minutes away from another title and with promotion to the premier grade for the 2022 season.

Indeed en route to this decider they have literally been unbeatable, winning all their games with relative ease, which puts them in a good place entering this final.

Mitchelstown themselves have shown remarkable resilience. Like a number of clubs, they suffered defeat in the delayed 2020 Championship, losing to Rockchapel in the final and now here they are again back in the 2021 final, and in addition some of their players were involved with Ballygiblin as they won the county junior hurling title a couple of weeks ago.

The downside is they will have to play this decider without Mark Keane who has returned to Australia and could also be without Cathal O’Mahoney who picked up an injury in their semi-final win last weekend. Before departing, O’Mahoney had kicked 4 points.

In that game they were staring defeat in the face but produced a great second half display to get the better of Kilshannig.

This is an experienced Mitchelstown side with Shane Betson, Dave Dineen, Sean O’Sullivan, Lorcan Finn, Michael Walsh and Pa Molloy and that could be crucial if it’s tight entering the last quarter.

Iveleary’s feat in reaching this final is all the more credible in that they have been unbeaten in championship for the best part of two years and the momentum gained from winning the junior has driven them on.

Their semi-final win over neighbours Aghabullogue was in stark contrast to Mitcheltstown’s battle, the margin of victory 3-14 to 1-5 tells its own tale.

The attack is top heavy with quality scorers, in particular Cathal Vaughan, Chris Og Jones and team captain Brian O’Leary.

At the back, Joe Creedon fronts a defence that have coped comfortably with what they have faced especially Barry Murphy, Sean O’Leary and Kevin Manning, while midfielders Ciaran O’Riordan and Darren Kelly form an effective partnership.

Lots of factors come into play in finals especially this late in the year, will the efforts of the last few weeks catch up on Mitchelstown, will not having a game in the same period effect Iveleary.

An intriguing game is in prospect with a nod to Iveleary to maintain their current run and make it back to back titles in the space of a few months.

Premier Intermediate Final

Kanturk v Newmarket on Sunday at 3pm

Kanturk are on the brink of a unique double having gained Premier Senior hurling status a short few weeks ago and the majority of the very same players will return determined to create their own little bit of history.

It is a team from their own Duhallow division, Newamarket that stand in their way.

Newmarket are seen by some as unlikely finalists but there is no denying that as the championship progressed, they improved with each outing and are well able to grind out results, as was evident in their semi-final win over Cill Na Martra, who actually finished with 11 players in what was a feisty encounter.

They will relish this occasion and with everybody tipping Kanturk, they will also enjoy going is as underdogs, placing less pressure on them, but having said all that there scoring return will need to improve, a return of 0-1 in the second half of that semi-final will not be good enough this time round.

There is a nice mix of youth and experience in their team; Bart Daly, TJ Brosnan and Kevin O’Sullivan fit into the latter category.

Ryan O’Keeffe and Barry O’Connor have an eye for goal, while Paudie Allen, Mikey Browne and Mike Cottrell have important roles to play.

Kanturk are back in the final having suffered defeat another Duhallow side, Knocknagree in the 2020 final back in August, and that they could get to two finals is an incredible feat, much has been made about Loughmore-Castleleiny in Tipperary are rightly so, but this is just as good here by a remarkable group of players.

They have overcome, injuries, suspensions and fatigue to get this far and looked a beaten team in their semi-final with Aghada but their ‘never say die’ spirit got them over the line by the narrowest of margins.

The majority of their players are household names, the Walshs and McLoughlins among them. Add in Darren Browne, Cian Clernon, Kyrle Holland and Timmy Hartnett are well versed in the art of winning.

Therein lies the difference - having played in and won so many finals in both codes over the years, they rarely countenance defeat, that gives them a vital edge which looks like it will be good enough for them to win this one and complete the double.

Both games from Páirc Uí Chaoimh are live on C103.

Munster Junior Football Championship

Fresh from their victory in the county final on Saturday, Boherbue make their first venture into the Munster arena with a trip to Cusack Park Ennis on Saturday for a 1pm start against the Clare representatives Ballyvaughan.

It’s somewhat unusual as they are not the champions; they lost the final as well as the 2020 final to Ennistymon who are a senior club and therefore not entitled to participate at this level.

The final was played in late October and how they approach this game will be interesting and that might give Boherbue an edge, depending of course on how the celebrations went.

The opportunity to compete at this level might not come again, so the Cork champions should endeavour to emulate other Duhallow clubs who have made an impact on this competition.

If that approach is adopted and with Kevin Murphy, Jerry O’Connor, Denis McCarthy, Brian and Adrian Murphy, Alan O’Connor, Brian Lynch and Andrew O’Connor in good form they should progress to the semi-final where the Kerry champions Gneeveguila await and that will make for a tasty local derby.

Munster Ladies Football Club semi-final

Two teams that have dominated their respective county championships go head to head on Sunday in Mourneabbey with the home side welcoming the Waterford champions Ballymacarbry to their venue for what has the makings of an intriguing semi-final with a 1pm throw in.

Hard to believe that the Waterford girls have just won their 40th, yes 40th, successive county title and irrespective of the quality of opposition, that is some achievement.

As this championship was not held last year, Mourneabbey are the reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions and will not want to give up these title especially on their home patch; equally they know this will present them with a really tough test.

Michelle Ryan remains a key play for ‘Ballymac with Brid McMaugh, Karen McGrath and Mairead Wall all making important and scoring contributions.

Mourneabbey had a tough quarter-final recently and that will help them and while Ciara O’Sullivan remains an injury worry, her sisters along with Brid O’Sullivan, Elle Jack, Laura Fitzgerald and Meabh O’Sullivan will be key.

A bit more depth for the Cork champions - that and home advantage should get them over the line.