Pictured ahead of the Bon Secours Premier Intermediate Final are David Daly, Bantry Blues and Aidan Walsh, Kanturk. Photo: Jim Coughlan

Football and camogie finals take centre stage

The finals keep on coming and the participating clubs will hope that the weather gods will be kinder then they were to the four clubs in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday when this week’s finalists trot out there over the weekend, and again all 3 games are live on C103.

There are two big camogie games also and their well appointed venue at Castle Road will host these deciders and having been rested for the last few weeks, it should be in good condition.

Bon Secours Premier Intermediate Football Final

Bantry Blues v Kanturk on Sunday at 4pm

It’s an unlikely and unusual pairing as these two sides would probably have never met given that they have been operating at different levels for the most part and will be again after this intriguing decider is over.

It’s been an exciting few years for Kanturk and they have contested and won many finals in both codes, but they have painful memories of the corresponding final in this grade last year, when they were beaten at the death by fellow Duhallow rivals Newmarket.

For the first time in a good few years, they come into this game with their sole focus being on just one code and that is a help.

Captain Aidan Walsh acknowledged as much: “It has been a huge help as we have had a good run at football since the hurling ended and with the majority of our team been dual players it has made our preparation easier.”

Playing Bantry is also going to be a new experience for the team. “It will be, I don’t ever remember playing them but they have a good tradition of football in that were playing senior for a long number of years and we know it will be a tough game.”

As for the Walsh contribution he laughs: “There’s a few of us there alright but that’s not a bad thing, we support each other all the time and of course the other lads as well.”

Bantry have been out of the limelight but have been very impressive all through this campaign never more evident than in their semi-final win over a highly rated Iveleary side in what many saw as the best game in the championship.

David Daly is a key player and he is looking forward to Sunday: “It’s been so long since we were in a final and it has lifted the club, indeed the entire town has got behind us, but we have got to park that and get on with the job.”

The manner in which they won their semi-final has boosted the West Cork side. “It has, we played very well that day responded to certain situations that arose and now we are ready for Sunday.”

There are lots of very good players on both sides; apart from the Walsh brothers and cousins, the McLoughlins, Grantus Bucinskas, Lorcan O’Neill, Ross Cashman and Darren Browne have long anchored the Kanturk challenge.

Ruairi Deane as the captain has enjoyed a brilliant campaign and will need minding such has been his form to date, while Dara McCarthy, Arthur Coakley, Paddy Cronin and Cillian O’Brien have all made important and vital contributions in Bantry's impressive march to this final.

Not easy picking a winner, but Kanturk’s big match experience especially in finals and the desire to atone from the narrow defeat in last year’s final might get them over the line.

Intermediate A Final

Kilshannig v Aghabullogue on Sunday at 2pm

It’s a somewhat unusual pairing as Aghabullogue are more renowned for their hurling exploits but have been very competitive at this level in recent years, while ironically only last weekend Kilshannig were crowned North Cork Junior Hurling champions for the very first time - a nice way to go into this final.

Their respective semi-final wins were impressive; Aghabullogue put 5 goals past last year’s junior champions Boherbue, while Kilshannig saw off a highly rated Mitchelstown side with an accomplished display.

The North Cork side have been boosted by the return from injury of influential midfielder Killian O’Hanlon and his experience and quality has added a new dimension to the team.

Killian got the early goal that set them on the way against Mitchelstown that saw them gain a measure of revenge for their defeat by the same opposition in last year’s semi-final, and is hoping they can maintain that form.

“We got a good start that day and just built on it for the rest of the game, we knew Mitchelstown would come at us but our defence was good as it has been all season, so we were happy enough.”

They were junior champions a short few years ago and getting to the final is a big step “and an important one, they (finals) don’t come around that often, even though we are now playing 2 in a week, so we will be ready and know we face a good Aghabullogue side”.

Winning the hurling will help: “It will as we are all involved so it just limits our football preparation but we are in a good place and hopefully we can continue that on Sunday.”

Conor McMahon, Eanna O’Hanlon, Gavin Creedon, Kieran Twomey and Colm O’Shea are all important players for Kilsahnnig.

Paul Ring is the Aghabullogue captain and having been involved with Cork during their league and championship campaign is delighted to be playing in a final with his club.

“I had a long season with Cork but since then the club scene has been very good, demanding but enjoyable and now have a final to look forward makes it that bit special.”

Hurling would been seen by many as the main game in the club but Paul says they have managed to combine both successfully in recent years. “The co-operation makes it easier for all involved, we were disappointed to miss out in the hurling, but we were lucky to be still in the football and have played well to reach the final and looking forward to it.”

The win over Boherbue was impressive: “It was we got a few early goals and that made it that bit easier and we were delighted with the overall performance.”

Paul knows that Kilshannig will present tough opposition, “for sure a big strong team with good players all over the field we will have to be at our very best to win.”

Cialan O’Sullivan, John Corkery and David Thompson with 2, were the goal scorers in that emphatic semi-final win and if they can repeat that feat they will certainly be hard to beat - add in Matthew Bradley and Shane Tarrant and that gives the team a nice balance.

The impressive nature of their respective semi-finals should make for an entertaining and interesting encounter, with a nod to Kilshannig to shade it.

Co-Op Superstores Premier Intermediate Hurling Final replay

Castlemartyr v Inniscarra on Saturday at 4pm

Given the conditions that the drawn game was played in, it was only fitting that it ended level and hopefully the weather will make it easier for both teams.

Even in the driving wind and rain, it was an entertaining contest and the teams will hope to build one what positives they can take from it under the circumstances that prevailed for its duration.

I went for Castlemartyr last week and while Inniscarra will take huge encouragement from their display, it’s still the East Cork side to win even it might take extra-time to decide on this occasion.

SE Systems Camogie Final

Castle Road the home of Cork camogie will be a hive of activity, with the holding of two major finals over the weekend, both starting at 2.30pm.

First up on Saturday, it’s the Intermediate Final between Aghabullogue and Blackrock, with the Mid-Cork girls appearing in their third final in a row, real motivation to avoid an unwanted hat-trick.

Cliona Healy, Emma Flanagan who bagged 2-1 in their semi-final win over Ballyhea, Erinn O’Connell and Brid Cotter are part of a very experienced side.

Blackrock for their part will look to Hayley Ryan, Roisin De Faoite, Michelle Murphy and Katelyn Hickey as they bid to gain senior status but the odds favour Aghabullogue finally getting over the line.

On Sunday it’s the senior decider with reigning champions Seandun hot favourites to secure back to back titles against a young and up and coming Sarsfields team.

Seandun apart from their semi-final win over St Finbarr’s, have cruised through to this final winning all their games by a large margin, but when tested they showed their quality with a hard earned win.

A problem for them will be a number of their players will feature on the Blackrock team playing their own big game on Saturday, how that match goes might shape their starting 15.

They can still can on quality players like Amy Lee who made a brilliant last minute penalty in the semi-final, Amy O’Connor, Lauren Homan, Sinead Mills and Sarah Kate Brosnan.

Sars’ path to the final was much tougher but that will stand to them as they have shown tremendous resolve to win some of their games and with no worries about players playing on Saturday, their preparation might be that bit better.

They had a great win over an experienced Inniscarra side in the semi-final and the manner of that win will give them confidence for this game knowing they will need to be at their very best if they are to end the champions reign.

Cliona Lynch, Ava Fitzgerald, Lucy Allen, Tara Elliot, Emma Casey, Ellen Murphy, Hollie Herlihy, Meabh Mullins and Molly Lynch are key players for Sars appearing in their first final since 2019.

Seandun are rightly favoured to win, but Sars are well capable of causing an upset.