The Dingle school have won the last four titles and no school has won five in a row.
They begin their 2015-16 campaign at the home of Tralee’s John Mitchels today (1.30pm) against Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra, who are competing in Munster’s top football competition for the first time.
Manager Donal Cremin outlines the journey taken by the Rathmore establishment.
“This is our first time in Corn Uí Mhuirí,” he says, “previously we would have competed in the vocational schools championships, even after the amalgamation in 1998 between Rathmore VS and St Mary’s.
“Rathmore would have played at the A level in the vocational and they won it in 1972, but before the schools competitions were merged, we would have been at B level.
“Last year, we won the U16½B and, we beat Abbey CBS from Tipp town, and the two of us were moved up to the Corn Uí Mhuirí.”
The heroes of last year’s win provide the backbone of the side, but a lack of experience may be a factor.
“It would be a lot of that team and I suppose we’d be on the younger side of it overall,” Cremin says.
“Not a lot of fellas do transition year here so we tend to lose them when they’d still be eligible the next year.
“That said, we have some good lads, we’d be hoping to have a few Kerry minors next year.
“The feeder clubs would be Rathmore, Gneeveguilla, Glenflesk and Knocknagree.
“Other years, you might have a few from Cullen but there aren’t any from there this year.”
Starting against the champions won’t be easy, but Cremin is looking for steady progress. “We’ll be up against it, obviously, as Corca Dhuibhne have such a great record,” he said.
“The way we’re looking at it is that we’re up there and we might as well give it a go.
“If we lose, it won’t be by a cricket score, put it that way. We’d hope to benefit from having a few good games.”
That game is in Group C, and elsewhere in the group DLS Macroom meet Coláiste Chríost Rí in Ballincollig.
In Group A, St Francis College Rochestown clash with Tralee CBS in Carrigadrohid while CBS HS Clonmel do battle with IS Killorglin in Ballyhea.
With St Brendan’s having begun Group B with a win (see report), St Flannan’s meet Coláiste na Sceilge in the other game in Abbeyfeale.
Group D begins with Clonakilty CC facing Skibbereen’s St Fachtna’s in Rosscarbery, while Tralee’s Mercy Mounthawk go head-to-head with Coláiste Choilm of Ballincollig in Millstreet.