History will be made on Sunday when the first final of the Cork Senior Hurling Championship will be played in Páirc Uí Rinn – 40 years after the decider was played at the UCC Grounds in the Mardyke.
During the reconstruction phase of the ‘old’ Athletic Grounds, the 1974 and 1975 finals in hurling and football were played in the Mardyke and the ‘new’ Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted the first finals a year later. The repeat pairing of the 2014 final sees Sarsfields attempting to win back-to-back titles for the first time, while Glen Rovers will be chasing their first championship win since 1989.
The Blackpool club achieved the distinction of winning eight consecutive finals between 1934 and 1941, having contested their first decider in 1930.
Interestingly, Glen Rovers were also involved in the last county hurling final to be played at the Athletic Grounds in 1973 (when Blackrock defeated them 2-12 to 2-10) and were participants in the second of the two finals played at the Mardyke during the reconstruction phase – when they again went under to the Rockies (4-11 to 0- 10).
Their luck changed in the first final played in the newly-developed Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 1976, when they were successful against Blackrock (2-7 to 0-10). Their 1976 victory was noteworthy for another reason: The winning captain was Pat Barry, an SMA priest who subsequently went to Nigeria and when they went on to win the Munster club title against South Liberties, they were captained by Martin O’Doherty. By the time they qualified for the All-Ireland club final in Thurles the following March, a new captain – goalkeeper Finbarr O’Neill – was in place. He lifted the trophy when they beat Camross.
Prior to 1974 a county hurling final had not been played in the Mardyke since 1927, when Blackrock defeated Redmonds.
From 1945 onwards, all county senior finals were played in the Athletic Grounds until 1973 and in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the last 39 years.
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