Finals to be decided in both hurling and camogie
Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the Cork Camogie grounds on Castle Road are the places to be this weekend with 4 county finals scheduled for the venues while a host of divisional finals are spread across the county.
Of course with the Premier Junior Champions now getting represent Cork in the Munster Club Championships, the main goal of the participants, apart from the wining of a coveted title is promotion to a higher grade for next season.
Co-Op Superstores Senior A Hurling Final
Blarney v Newcestown on Sunday at 4pm
The mid-Cork side availed of the 2nd opportunity afforded them by completely outplaying a Bride Rovers side that never really got to the pitch of the contest. Were they beaten before they started given the circumstances surrounding the re-fixture?
That aside, Blarney were very impressive, obviously keen to back up their objection with what was a near perfect performance and the ideal preparation for the decider.
Newcestown though will present a really tough test and they have their own goals, as they go in search of an elusive double, they play the football final in 2 weeks time, with a fair share of the same players.
They impressed in their semi-final win over Carrigtwohill and manager Charlie Wilson says: “It is tough going but the lads’ approach is brilliant and the final is something all in the club are looking forward to.”
Blarney’s captain Conor Power in the aftermath of the win last week said: “We got the job done, parked what went on between games and now the focus is on the final against a very good Newcestown team.”
The big plus for Blarney last week was the contribution of the Cork duo Mark Coleman who given his long lay-off has been excellent, while Shane Barrett also stepped up a notch, the 3rd Cork player Padraig Power is carrying a shoulder injury but still makes an important contribution and needs minding.
Others that have shown their capabilities are Sean Crowley, Olan Hegarty. Cian Barrett and Eoghan Kirby in what is a nicely balanced team.
One of the many traits that Newcestown possess is their never say die attitude and spirit that has seen them win many a tight game, and some they had no right to win and against teams that would have felt they were much better than them.
Luke Meade is key to their team, but beside him Tadgh Twomey - it will be his 151st adult championship game on Sunday - Cathal Wilson, Conor O’Neill, Edmund Kenneally, Richard O’Sullivan and captain Eoghan Collins are all fiercely competitive and relish the fact that they are underdogs on Sunday.
The easy option is to say Blarney will win, and they might very well, but they will get the sternest of tests from a very committed and tenacious opponents, and do not rule out a surprise. To Newcestown, it would not be one.
Intermediate A Final
Midleton v Aghabullogue on Sunday at 2pm
A week on from losing the senior final, the men in black and white are back in another final against an Aghabullogue side, who are chasing a double.
It’s a real credit to Mideton for their 2nd team to get to a county final, similar to Erin’s Own last week, and they did lose Tadgh O’Leary Hayes to the seniors last Sunday, but will be keen to avoid another final loss.
Aghabullogue have been one of the most consistent teams in this championship in recent years without ever actually getting over the line - they were runners-up in 2020 to neighbours Éire Óg.
Dual player Paul Ring is adamant those results have driven them on. “We are very determined to win this championship and with so many dual players, the bond in the teams is great and we are really looking forward to the match but we know Midleton are a very proud club and a good team and only our best will do Sunday.”
Ironically another dual player is midfielder Sean Furey but his football talents are with another mid-Cork side Cill Na Martra, while Shane Tarrant is a key attacker for them with Cillian Timmons, Matthew Bradley, John Corkery, Pauric O’Sullivan and Niall Barry Murphy all making important contributions.
They were well behind in their semi-final against Mayfield but were a different team in the 2nd half and ran out comfortable winners. They will look for a more consistent performance this time.
Midleton displayed their resolve in the semi-final win over Blackrock in a match they trailed for long periods but never gave up and 2 late points by Aaron Mulcahy - he finished with 0-13 - edged a thriller.
David Scanlon, Leo Hennessy, goalkeeper Zach Smyth, Gavin Reddy, Tiarnan Roche and Darragh Mc Carthy are key player for them who have really played well in throughout this campaign.
The odds favour Aghabullogue, but as Erin’s Own showed last week, second teams are not to be underestimated, but a nod to Aghabullogue to win.
Both finals from Páirc Uí Chaoimh are live on C103
SE Systems Camogie Finals
Seandun v Sarsfields on Sunday at Castle Road at 2.30pm
The champions Seandun are bidding for 3 in a row, but very nearly came a cropper in the semi-final against Cloughduv who were on course for a 2nd major upset having knocked out red-hot favourites St Finbarr’s in the quarter-final.
It took a very late goal from them to survive and the experience of the last couple of years stood to them.
They have been further boosted by the addition of Cork players Catriona and Pamela Mackey; add in Amy Lee, Amy O’Connor, Niamh O’Leary, Lauren Homan and captain Maeve Scannell and it’s an indication of the quality that the champions possess.
One concern though is that a number of their players will line out with Blackrock in the Intermediate Final on Saturday. On the plus side, their preparation will have improved in the last few weeks.
Sars eased through their group and withstood a strong comeback by East Cork rivals St Catherine’s in the semi-final.
There’s extra motivation as well with the hurlers having won last Sunday and a number of their players won Ladies football medals with the Glanmire Intermediate team a fortnight ago, so confidence will be high.
They have also enjoyed tremendous success at underage level in recent years and the majority of these players will anchor their challenge in the final.
Molly Lynch is a fine goalkeeper, Lucy Allen, Kate Fennessy, Kaitlin Sheehan, Claire Mullins, Orlaith Mullins and Niamh O’Callaghan are well versed in the art of winning at various levels.
It’s a repeat of last year’s final, so both sides know what to expect, Seandun will be fancied to win, but Sars will be keen to avenge last season’s loss and are well capable of springing a surprise.
Blackrock v Watergrasshill on Saturday at Castle Road at 2.30pm
Despite losing a number of players, 7 in total from last year’s team, the ‘Rockies have sailed comfortably into this final and look well on course to make the progression up to senior ranks.
Hayley Ryan, Anne O’Farrell, Roisin De Faoite and Cliona O’Callaghan have all impressed in their wins to date and will be big players for them on Saturday.
The ‘Hill to have shown they are a good side and had tough game against Douglas and Na Piarsaigh before getting the better of Ballyhea in the semi-final.
Edel Murphy, Ciara Cashman and Mairead Kennedy are big players for them and they will need to be at their very best to beat a formidable Blackrock side, who look better equipped to win.
A huge weekend and I’m sure the celebrations are ongoing in Sars, Castlelyons and Erin’s on their championship wins and congrats to all, shortly though two of the three will turn their attention to the Munster Club Championship.
The exception is Erin’s Own; as a 2nd team they cannot compete so St Catherine’s will have to dust themselves down for the short trip to the Fraher Field in Dungarvan and a meeting with Ardmore on 4 November.
24 hours later, the newly revamped Walsh Park is the venue for the senior clash of Sars against the formidable Ballygunner who are chasing 3 in a row.
Castlelyons are into a semi-final on the weekend of 18/19 against either Crotta O’Neill’s from Kerry - that would be at a Cork venue or Ferrybank from Waterford who will have home advantage if they win.
Best wishes to Cork hurlers Robert Downey of Glen Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s Ger Millerick along with former manager Kieran Kingston in the hurling/shinty international against Scotland in Páirc Elser in Newry on Saturday.
It is a huge honour to represent your country and all 3 should savour and enjoy the occasion, the opportunity to wear the ‘green jersey’ does not come around that often, in fact this is the first such game since 2019. Best of luck lads.