Kilgarvan will give revived St Brendans plenty of it in final
County IHC Final: Kilgarvan v St Brendans, Saturday September 9, Lewis Road, 5pm
A unique pairing in many respects, given that, these two clubs haven't met in a championship game for some time, let alone in a final.
St Brendans in fact didn't compete at this level for a few years, but the efforts of manager Jeremiah Clifford and his back-room team of Patrick Clifford and Maurice Kearney helped to assemble a squad this season which is made up of former senior players and some younger, who had featured at under age in recent years.
The last time they won the competition back in 1998, beating Ladies Walk in the final, it was a team which included such notables as Ger Hussey, Philly Stack, Tommy O'Connor, Mike Crowley and Brendan Courtney.
Their path to this year's final has seen them score twelve goals, six in their opening game against Abbeydorney, which ended up as a pretty facile win in the end (6-21 1-7). They followed it up with another impressive win over Lixnaw (3-14 2-8), but were pushed all the way by Causeway in the semi-final before eventually pulling through by just five points (3-11 0-15).
Behind by five at the interval break, they had to dig deep in the second half, but goals from Brendan O'Connor, Padraig Kearney and substitute Conor Flaherty ensured that they ultimately edged a pretty pulsating contest.
Kilgarvan having won three senior titles in the 1950s, are building steadily at underage and have ambitions of stepping up again to the senior grade in the next two or three years.
They have an impressive record in this particular competition having won it on eight occasions the last being in 2010. They were also the first club from Kerry in 2007 to win a round of the Munster Championship before they lost the provincial final to Dripsey one year later.
Having overcome their near neighbours, Kenmare Shamrocks with a bit to spare in their opening game, they fashioned a superb win over Kilmoyley in the semi final (2-11 0-11).
Ahead by two points at half time, having played with the elements, they produced a virtuoso second half showing to book their place in the decider. Central to that particular win was the performance of midfielder John Mark Foley, but due to an ankle injury it's likely that the outstanding dual player will miss this weekend's final.
Certainly, his absence will be a huge blow to their management team of Mick Foley, John Foley, Flor O'Brien and Adrian O'Sullivan. It will lessen their chances considerably, and swings the pendulum fully in favour of St Brendans, who will have in their line up the captain of the Senior Championship winning team in 2013, Eamonn Corridan along with such as Conor Flaherty, John Paul Leen, Shane Griffin, midfielder Adrian Nolan, wing-forward Jack Mc Carthy and Brendan O'Connor who has been particularly impressive all season.
Kilgarvan will look to Jeremiah Kelliher, Sean Casey, and Chris Creedon in defence and to Patrick O Shea and Sean Godfrey in the central attacking positions.
It's going to be a tough task for them.
While St Brendans will be strongly fancied to bridge a twenty year gap, one cannot ever rule out the representatives from the Roughty Valley, given their impressive record in the competition since the early nineteen seventies.
Verdict: St Brendans