Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY PAT NOLAN

TWO of the most sto­ried clubs in Mun­ster foot­ball face off for the first time to­mor­row as Dr Crokes and St Fin­barr’s meet.

Only Nemo Rangers, with their 16 pro­vin­cial ti­tles, bet­ter Crokes (seven) or the ‘Barr’s (four) on the Mun­ster foot­ball roll of hon­our, with the Cork cham­pi­ons mak­ing their first foray be­yond the county since 1986.

Back then they didn’t win the county ti­tle but hav­ing been beaten by divi­sional side Imokilly, they were al­lowed to rep­re­sent Cork and went all the way to the All-ire­land ti­tle in 1987.

It was their third time to win the Andy Mer­ri­gan Cup and given that they have two All-ire­land club hurl­ing ti­tles as well, St Fin­barr’s sta­tus as the GAA’S great­est dual club is dif­fi­cult to chal­lenge, notwith­stand­ing their strug­gles in re­cent times.

But Kil­lar­ney out­fit Dr Crokes hold a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage with the game on their own club pitch, not to mind their con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence hav­ing won four Mun­ster ti­tles since 2011.

In the other semi-fi­nal, The Nire are fan­cied to come through against St Joseph’s of Mil­town Mal­bay.

All-ire­land cham­pi­ons Co­rofin go back to the well once more af­ter a pair of drain­ing county fi­nals against Mount­bellew-Moy lough in re­cent weeks and could be vul­ner­a­ble fac­ing Clann na Gael, whose record of seven pro­vin­cial ti­tles they over­took last year.

But they’re too sea­soned to get caught here and a fi­nal against Ballintub­ber, who take on Aughaw­illan, ap­pears the likely pair­ing.

In Le­in­ster, two newly ap­pointed county bosses will face off with Rhode, jointly man­aged by Jack Cooney, re­cently ap­pointed as West­meath boss, and Mul­li­nalaghta, mar­shalled by in­com­ing Ca­van man­ager Mickey Gra­ham, meet­ing in Tul­lam­ore.

Both clubs have won three-in-a-row in Of­faly and Long­ford re­spec­tively and this is likely to be Rhode’s tough­est as­sign­ment en route to what they hope will be a sixth pro­vin­cial fi­nal in 13 years. New­town Blues, Kil­macud Crokes and Moore­field will most likely join them in the last four.

CHAM­PI­ONS John Payne of Dr Crokes with Kerry SFC tro­phy

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