THE 27th staging of the Chapter 23 Credit Union Duhallow Under 20 Football Invitation Cup will feature some of the best club and divisional teams either side of the Cork and Kerry county bounds. That's sure to generate interest over the coming weeks.
It follows a formal launch hosted by Rathmore Credit Union in the presence of a diverse attendance drawn from competing teams, sponsors and the promoting Duhallow GAA Divisional Board.
From humble beginnings in 1987, the Invitation Cup involving Cork and Kerry teams obtained Munster Council backing and it's now regarded as one of the foremost competitions boosted by an organisation second to none.
Invitation Cup founder and co-ordinator John Fintan Daly lauded the involvement of teams at the end of the playing season. That's boosted by the traditional sporting rivalry between the counties, adding considerable spice and ensures premier competition.
"Demand for participation outstretched places available. And it's again an opportune time to go along with popular request to run the competition to Under 20 so that it will be exactly in line with the 2014 Under 21 Championships. The Cup starts in the old playing rules and finishes on new rules incorporating the much documented Black Card Infractions", said Mr Daly.
For some years, Kerry teams dominated the competition since its inception, Muskerry breaking a four run of Kerry wins to defeat Clonakilty in an all Cork pairing last season to follow up wins by Rathmore / Kilcummin and District side, St Kierans who also won the initial staging in 1987.
Kerry All Ireland medal winners Maurice Fitzgerald, Seamus Moynihan, Tom O'Sullivan, Aidan O'Mahony, Michael McCarthy, John Crowley, Eoin Brosnan, Declan O'Keeffe and Colm Cooper displayed their finesse in this Cup over the years.
And some leading lights in Cork football have paraded their talents too notably Colin Corkery, Graham Canty, Martin Cronin, Philip Clifford, Stephen O'Brien, Mark O'Sullivan, Aidan Walsh and Donncha O'Connor.
Speakers at the formal launch were Invitation Cup co-ordinator John Fintan Daly, Credit Union Chapter 23's Christy Killeen and Duhallow Board Secretary Steven Lynch.
The top of the bill from the first round draw is the novel clash of holders Muskerry against East Kerry. That revives memories of East Kerry's victory over the Mid Cork side in the 1971 Munster Club SFC decider.
Last season's runners up Clonakilty come up against debutants Kenmare District. Another top attraction is the meeting of St. Kierans and Douglas while Rathmore/Kilcummin face neighbours and hosts Duhallow.
Opening first round games will operate at selected venues either side of the Cork / Kerry border.
Round 1 draw
Douglas v St. Kierans
Clonakilty v Kenmare District
East Kerry v Douglas
Rathmore / Kilcummin v Duhallow