Although the game doesn’t mean anything in terms of the County Championship, divisional pride will be at stake when Mullinahone and Carrick Davins meet in the delayed South Senior Hurling Final at Clonmel Sportsfield on Sunday (3pm).
The final was to have been played at the end of July but was postponed when Swans launched a successful appeal against their expulsion from the championship, meaning that their semi-final against Mullinahone had to be replayed.
In any event Mullinahone dashed hopes of an all-Carrick final when they beat Swans after extra-time in Fethard last month.
Since the postponed final both teams have made their exits from the County championship. Mullinahone went further, reaching the semi-final stage after an extra time defeat of Borris-Ileigh, but they flopped badly against Drom/Inch last Sunday, losing by 9 points in a disappointing and one-sided encounter.
They will now be required to lift themselves against a Davins team chasing their first South Senior title since 1979.
Mullinahone were virtually a beaten team at half time in last week’s County semi-final when they were behind by 12 points. But in the second half they at least managed to avoid a complete whitewash.
Their performance left a lot to be desired but they have it in them to produce a much-improved display. There’s quality throughout the side, from county captain Eoin Kelly to fellow county star Paul Curran, and they can also call upon former Tipp player Paul Kelly.
AJ Cronin, Philip O’Shea, Sean Curran, Cathal Horan, Eoin Fennelly and Alan Curran can also be relied upon, and for a club that only won its first south senior title in 1993 they’ll be hoping to lift the cup for the 10th time on Sunday.
Davins’ last appearance in the final was in 1995, when they lost to Mullinahone. The club has won this particular championship 11 times, although they only returned to the senior ranks last year when they beat Arravale Rovers in the County Intermediate Final the previous season.
They earned their place in the final with a 0-14 to 1-9 defeat of Killenaule, a win that reversed last year’s semi-final result between the teams.
Their victory was all the more surprising, considering they played with only 14 men for all the second half after Noel Butler was sent off on the stroke of half time.
They led by 2 points at the interval but their backs were against the wall for much of the second half as they battled against opponents who had an extra man.
However fine performances from Lee Mackey, who was on the Tipp senior panel earlier in the year; midfielder Pa Harris, goalkeeper Michael Hackett and wing-forward Willie O’Dwyer ensured they would be taking their place in the final for the first time in 16 years.