BARRS CLASH JUST WHAT DR HAS ORDERED
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