Ballygiblin are Cork’s lone standard bearers remaining in the All Ireland Club Hurling series, the picture for outright honours much clearer this week with the contenders whittled down to four across all grades.
Hopes of a double Cork success faded, Courcey Rovers coming within touching distance of landing a Munster IHC title only to concede late scores to Kilmoyley that forced extra-time before the Kerry champions emerged best in the additional 20 minutes.
The stakes were high in Mallow for the Munster JAHC showpiece, Ballygiblin underlined their utter determination to overcome Skeheenarinky in the big local derby clash.
With just five miles separating the clubs to the novel mouth watering encounter that captured the attention of the public, bragging rights belonged to Ballygiblin, earning provincial honours for the first time thanks to a brace of second half goals from Seán O’Sullivan.
In doing so, Ballygiblin became the fourth Avondhu club to land Munster JAHC titles though previous representatives Kilworth, Charleville and Kildorrery failed to complete the journey at All Ireland level, Charleville, the closest only to incur a defeat Ballyragget in the 2012 Final.
Ballygiblin endured a huge distance during the past six months, rewarded with a Munster title with a further jackpot lay in prospect, just two steps away from reaching the All Ireland summit.
Far from an easy task as all four sides remaining in the hunt are creditable contenders, in many ways, Ballygiblin are probably the least experienced. All Ireland semi-final opponents for Ballygiblin are Fullen Gaels, the latter emerged quarter-final winners over Craobh Rua of Armagh after a penalty shoot out.
Gaels, based in Manchester featuring a Cork input, are familiar faces in this championship. Back in 2011, they lost to Meelin in a quarter-final, returning two years later to reach the decider only to come up short to Thomastown of Kilkenny.
Meanwhile, the second semi final brings together Salthill / Knocknacarra and Mooncoin. Kilkenny champions Mooncoin return to the All Ireland series four years after the narrowest of defeats to Cork’s Mayfield in the 2017 decider.
Mooncoin regained their Leinster title thanks to a goal blitz against Shamrocks (Offaly). For their part, Salthill / Knocknacarra savoured a first time Connacht title after a victory over Easkey (Sligo).
Of course, the Galway club is renowned for football, their biggest day surfaced in 2006 on capturing the All Ireland Club SFC title, 15 years on, they are chasing a hurling title.
The mention of All Ireland semi finals ensures the temperature rise as four teams remaining in the hunt vie for two places in a showdown at Croke Park.
Rest assured all four semi-finalists will strive might and main in their ambition to reach out for the Holy Grail.
Club hurling hasn’t been too kind to Cork sides over recent years, Ballygiblin can revive fortunes, on the evidence of their performances to date, they possess real belief.
Fullen Gaels are sure to provide a stern test, the priority for the Munster champions is to overcome the penultimate obstacle to gain a passage to Croker.
So far, so good, for Ballygiblin, a lot done, more to do as the obstacles become more challenging.