BÓL Chumann Ard Mhacha will stage the season’s first All-Ireland finals this weekend, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th.
Newtownhamilton, Armagh, will be the focal point for play-offs in six grades which will decide winners from the 2020 championship programme.
Heading the list are the women’s senior and men’s intermediate deciders. Carmel Carey from Carrigtwohill is the defending senior ladies’ champion and will carry plenty of confidence to her All-Ireland bid in the weekend’s opening event on Saturday morning.
Carey will, though, need to reproduce the form she showed in her Cork final victory against Veronica O’Mahony because she’s up against Kelly Mallon, the supreme performer on the All-Ireland stage. Mallon is a phenomenal talent whose five-in-a-row (2014-18) made it eight titles in total, a tally that eclipsed Gretta Cormican’s long-standing record of seven. If both hit their best form an intriguing battle awaits.
The weekend’s closing event will be the All-Ireland intermediate final. Rylane man John O’Rourke will carry Cork’s hopes and he will probably need to improve on his county final performance when he takes on the stylish and bullet-fast Mark Toal on Sunday afternoon.
In between are four finals, three in the underage sector, but all with the potential to excite. Mallow man Andrew O’Callaghan and Sean Donnelly face off for the junior A crown on Saturday afternoon.
Hannah Sexton will be hard to beat as she attempts to make it two-in-a-row in U18 but will, of course, not take the challenge of new Armagh star Caoimhe Rafferty for granted. Likewise, Wayne Parkes is the form player in Cork at the moment. Another looking for back-to-back U18 All-Ireland victories, Wayne takes on Darragh Gribben, a grandson of John Gribben who played Mick Barry in the 1975 senior final.
Finally, in boys’ U14, South-West’s third underage representative, Cillian Twohig from Rossmore, will have big support too as he takes on Ciarán Corrigan, a strong Ulster champion who was runner-up in U12 to Cathal Creedon at Grenagh 2018.
Further to the remaining All-Ireland series, the junior C and novice finals will be held at Westport on the second weekend in September (10th to 12th). The three semi-finals involving Connacht representatives will take place on Friday afternoon in order to facilitate their attendance at the All-Ireland football final.
Confirmation has been given by senior officials north and south that the Ballyvourney All-Ireland series (2020 championships) will take place on October bank holiday weekend, 23rd and 24th. Seven finals will be down for decision with the centrepiece the men’s senior final. Junior B and veteran men and intermediate ladies, boys’ and girls’ U18 and boys’ U12 complete a seven-score programme.