A close encounter overflowing with intensity and passion is expected when Killenaule and Carrick Swans battle it out for the South senior hurling title on Saturday evening at the Clonmel GAA grounds.
Killenaule, on the strength of their undefeated record in the campaign, will start as slight favourites while the role of underdog will suit a Carrick Swans side determined to make up for the heartbreak of defeat in last year’s decider against Mullinahone.
Carrick Swans were handed an emphatic hiding when these two teams met earlier in the year in the league stages of this compettion but that will have no bearing on the outcome on Saturday.
A rampant Killenaule emerged victorious by thirteen points in a 4-21 to 2-14 triumph when they met but at that stage both teams had qualified for the semi finals and Swan fielded a very much under-strength team .
That said, however, Killenaule are the form team of the championship, a team with a 100% record in the league format during which they accounted for every opposition in formidable fashion.
Killenaule will be hoping to bring that form with them into the final but as the semi final showed the knockout stages of the competition are a different proposition.
Killenaule had a considerable margin to spare when they met Mullinahone in the league format earlier in the year but just had one point to spare over the CJ Kickhams men in the semi final.
The huge difference on the scoreboard between Killenaule and Carrick Swans in the league format will make no difference when the teams line out against each other in the final on Saturday night.
Swans have had the better of Killenaule in recent years and in particular the South final victory in 2010 stands out for them.
One man who missed out on that match was corner back Darren Fahy, who had his appendix operation rule him out of the big occasion.
“I was gutted to miss that and we were beaten in the final last year so it would be nice to play in a winning team in the final,” said the Swan captain.
He felt that the experience of losing last year in the final to Mullinahone would stand to Carrick Swan this year as the defeat hurt a lot and it was a game they could have won.
“At least now a lot of the younger lads have a final under their belts and they will be more experienced. I think we froze a little last year and you learn from that,” said the Swan captain.
Darren said they were flying in training and thankfully had no injuries to worry about.
Killenaule manager TJ Maher said that he would describe his team’s form as “consistent but not spectacular”.
It would be wrong to jump to judgement, he said, on the back of the league format of the championship as when they met Ballingarry and Carrick Swan “both teams had their work done” in terms of qualifiying for the semi finals and very little could be read into those games.
He said Swan always brought a huge intensity to knockout championship and Killenaule would have to match that on the day.
“Knockout games as the semi final between ourselves and Mullinahone showed is different and I think we were fortunate to get through that one”, he stated.