A FIRST-TIME meeting of Kilbrin and Freemount adds to the attraction of the Duhallow Junior A hurling league final.
The pairing of Kilbrin and Freemount looks set for a cracking confrontation in the Kanturk Credit Union JAHL Final in Tullylease on this Friday evening.
Precious little appear to separate the two sides, both capable of playing attractive hurling to a league that offered keen competition in the preliminary series. And with both semi-finals taking extra-time to resolve, it makes for a most interesting encounter.
There is enormous potential in both finalists. Expectations are high in the two camps and with the championship just around the corner in another meeting between the pair, both sides will attempt to gather confidence toward lifting this league title.
Though no strangers in championship finals, this is the novel clash to a league final.
Kilbrin search for their eighth outright league title -the first recorded in 1955 and the last won in 2002.. This happens to be Kilbrin's third consecututive final after losing the previous two engagements against Banteer.
Freemount emerged to the fore during the 90s winning on four occasions and their fifth surfaced in 2004 with a good win over Banteer.
Reflecting on the current campaign, Freemount hit winning ways on a progressive run though incurring a blip on a defeat to Tullylease. Progress into the semi final against holders Banteer, Freemount pushed on in extra-time to garner a 1-15 to 0-15 triumph.
Backboning their challenge are defenders Mike Curtin, Paul Nagle and Micheal O'Regan with Jason Ballentyne and Padraig Curtin in the mix at midfield. And in attack Aidan O'Flynn, Mike Murphy and Alan Ballentyne are proven scorers.
Looking at Kilbrin's progress to the knockout stages, they displayed some indifferent form, succumbing to Freemount, earning a draw with Banteer before offering a steady impovement.
In the semi-final, Kilbrin were forced to extra time by Millstreet before notching a single goal win 3-22 to 2-22. At their best, Kilbrin hold a cutting edge with Gene Sullivan, Doniel Sheahan, William Egan and Michéal O'Riordan ever solid in the back division. Elsewhere David O'Sullivan may team up with Con Carroll at midfied while Gareth Linehan, Kieran and Eoin Sheahan can graft out scores up front.
When the sides clashed in the preliminary round early to the campaign, Freemount sharpness shone through yet Kilbrin are ever improving and surely will hope its third time lucky after losing the previous two finals.
Meanwhile, Dromtariffe contest a second round to the County JBHC on a meeting against Lough Rovers in Coachford on Saturday. From a preliminary, Dromtariffe overcame Belgooly while Lough Rovers faltered to Lismire. That outcome maybe good enough for a young Duhallow to make further inroads.