A championship that started last April and has so far featured 118 matches reaches its conclusion this Sunday, when Clonoulty/Rossmore and Drom/Inch clash in the County Senior Hurling Final at 3.30 at Semple Stadium.
This will be the 115th County Senior Hurling Final but it’s the first time the sides have met in the final. Clonoulty, who beat the holders and strong favourites Thurles Sarsfields in the semi-final, are seeking their fourth title to add to their victories in 1888, 1989 and 1997, while Drom are hoping to lift the Dan Breen Cup for the first time.
Clonoulty’s defeat of Sarsfields made everyone sit up and take notice but it’s debateable as to whether they can lift themselves to the same level again for Sunday’s challenge, as they’ll surely need to do.
Their strengths lie in the experience of players such as captain, John Devane; Timmy Hammersley, Conor Ryan, John O’Neill, Declan O’Dwyer and John and Joey O’Keeffe. However their injury problems have also been well documented, with key players such as Thomas Butler, Paudie White and Sean O’Connor all affected. While the five-in-a-row winners in the west have some promising young talent breaking through this occasion might just have come too early in their development.
Drom/inch, meanwhile, fairly blitzed Mullinahone in the first half of their semi-final, although they were less dominant on the turnover. County player Seamus Callanan has been in devastating form for them recently while James Woodlock, Johnny Ryan, Seamus and David Butler and the full back line of Martin Butler, Mike Costello and Michael Butler have also been impressive during the campaign.
Beaten finalists in 2009, 2007 and 2005, Drom have been knocking loudly on the door in recent years and they get a tentative vote to create history on Sunday.
The final will be refereed by Pat Gibson of Burgess.
The curtain-raiser at 1.30 is the Seamus O’Riain Cup Final between Knocakavilla/Donaskeigh Kickhams and Moycarkey/Borris.
The team of the past that will be honoured at the final is the Kilruane MacDonaghs side that won the 1985 County Senior Hurling Championship and the 1986 All-Ireland Club title the following year.