NOTHING like a tasty appetiser before the main course and the clash of great pretenders Carrigtwohill and new kids on the block Bishopstown at Páirc Uí Chaoímh on Sunday in the Evening Echo Cork Co Premier IHC final looks the ideal starter before the all East Cork senior decider between Cloyne and Erin’s Own.
And for Bishopstown stalwart Martin Hayes it will not only be another chance to garner a coveted medal, but the opportunity to emulate the feat of his maternal grandfather Ned ‘Sailor’ Hayes, a goalkeeper who won a Cork senior championship medal back in 1918.
Nothing unusual about that, except that his grandfather won his medal with Sunday’s opponents Carrigtwohill. So there’s a direct link between the finalists tomorrow.
It’s a long time since Gray won that medal with what was reported to be a very good Carrig side, and although Hayes is proud of his grandfather’s achievement, nothing will stop him from attaining his goal when he lines for the ‘Town on Sunday where he could well come head to head with another of Carrig’s favourite sons, Seanie Farrell.
Said Hayes: “I never, knew my grandfather; he died when I was very young, but I believe he was a man you could rely on. Really though the Carrigtwohill factor won’t have any bearing on the match, but maybe the Carrig lads will give me a bit of scope for old times sake!”
Hayes, an excellent hurler who has given Bishopstown years of dedicated service, is hoping it will be third time lucky on the new Páirc Ui Chaoimh sod. He has already played there in two senior football finals with Bishopstown, losing to both Nemo and Carbery, but a hurling medal on the field of play — he was a sub in 1992 when Bishopstown beat Cloyne in Ballincollig to go up senior — would go a long way to redressing the pain for a man who, like his grandfather, has hurled with Cork.
The omens are good. When Bishopstown won that intermediate title in 1992, Erin’s Own won their first senior title by beating Na Piarsaigh. What’s the betting on the same double?
History will recall three Carrigtwohill and Cork stalwarts involved in a famous championship goal for the Rebels around 1919-20 when no Limerick man touched the ball — ’ ‘Sailor’ Gray’s puckout being doubled on by John O’Keeffe to Jimmy ‘Major’ Kennedy — for a memorable goal.
But that’s history, Carrig will now be looking for some of that old magic on Sunday from the likes of Michael Barry, Sean Flannery and Noel Furlong in defence, Frank Flannery at midfield and Robert White, NiallMcCarthy, Jason Barrett and the two Farrell’s up front.
However, Bishopstown, with a mixture of youth and experience, are up for the challenge. And Hayes is looking forward to it. Only Donal O’Mahony of the 1992 playing team has survived — Hayes and Brian Cuthbert were subs — but the young guys have been like a breath of fresh air to the side.
Said Hayes: “The young players like Shane O’Neill, Ronan Conway, Thomas Murray, Denis Crowley and others have brought a new energy to the side. In fairness there were good hurlers there before them, well drilled by the likes of Noel Collins. But these guys have strengthened us no ends. We’ve got few niggly little injuries, but were ready. We’ll give it our best shot on Sunday.”
They’ll need to. Carrig are thirsting to get back into senior ranks and to win their first title since beating Delanys in the junior final after a replay in ‘94.
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