While the competition began yesterday as Tralee’s Mercy Mounthawk had a 4-16 to 0-7 win over CBS High School Clonmel in Mallow in Group B, most fixtures are today. Included is the clash of the new Skibbereen Community School and St Flannan’s College of Ennis in Buttevant in Group D (1.30pm).
Boys’ school St Fachtna’s De La Salle, three-time winners of the Corn; former vocational school Rossa College; and the all-girls Mercy Heights Secondary School have amalgamated to form the new institution.
While the name and the colours — purple, black, and white — may be different, the team taking to the field today is largely a continuation of the recent Fachtna’s tradition, as manager Colman O’Driscoll outlines.
“Numbers-wise in the senior cycle, there are only about 120 boys, so the panel is largely former Facthna’s students,” he says. “For the last couple of years, we’ve had young senior panels and there are some fellas in their third campaign, a couple are even in their fourth, I’d say there’d be 10 or 11 of last year’s starters still there.
“We’ll have about eight Leaving Certs playing, whereas, ideally, you’d like more and in the next few years; that will hopefully be the case. Last year, we had only three Leaving Certs, so it was a case of looking to the future. Hopefully, those lads can use that experience now.”
O’Driscoll, who has Castlehaven manager and county board GDA James McCarthy and former Carbery Rangers player Maurice Moore involved with him, hopes the merger will prove beneficial.
“Already, you’re getting the advantage of the facilities. We have a great new pitch and a gym and a hall. In the junior cycle, there are big numbers, so it’s a good chance to integrate the Fachtna’s and Rossa boys and start building.”
The other game in Group D sees the all-Kerry meeting of Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne of Dingle and Rathmore’s Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra at the home of John Mitchels, just outside Tralee.
In Group C, there is also a Kerry derby in Listry, as reigning All-Ireland champions St Brendan’s College of Killarney begin their campaign with a clash against IS Killorglin.
The group’s other two teams are from Cork: De La Salle Macroom and Bandon’s Hamilton High School. They meet in Kilmurry.
Group A also begins with one all-Cork and one all-Kerry tie. At Carrigaline, Rochestown’s St Francis College meet Coláiste Choilm of Ballincollig, while Cromane is the venue for the meeting of Coláiste na Sceilge and Tralee CBS.
The other game in Group B sees Coláiste Chríost Rí play Clonakilty Community College in Brinny.
Also today, the Dean Ryan Cup (U16½AHC) semi-finals take place. Midleton CBS, seeking a third title in four years following wins in 2014 and 2015, play Thurles CBS in Ardfinnan, while St Colman’s College of Fermoy meet Hospital’s John The Baptist Community School in Golden.