The Cork teams that took part in the Arrabown Cup
After the success of the two Cork teams in the Tony Forristal and Sonny Walsh competitions in 2018, it was decided that Cork would enter two teams into the A section of the Arrabawn Cup for 2019. This meant that Cork would pick two evenly balanced teams and these teams would both compete for the Arrabawn Cup against other counties first teams. This was a huge undertaking as it has never been done before. Under the guidance of Noel Furlong, an assembled group of mentors got to work in January where four Regional teams (East, City, North, and West) were put together to prepare for the Munster Interdivisional competition on the May Bank Holiday weekend. Against other regional teams from Munster, all four Cork team qualified for the semi-final stages, with East Cork winning out in the end after two titanic battles with Cork City and Cork West.
After the Regional competition, a panel of 48 players was selected to go forward to represent Red (Cork) and White (Corcaigh). Both teams trained together throughout the summer played challenge matches and played each other in internal matches, with 1 win apiece, which showed the balance of the squads.
On the 10th August, both Cork played their qualifying group in Mallow and were successful against Clare and Wexford to qualify for the Arrabawn Cup (1st-4th place). Corcaigh didn’t fare as well, drawing with Limerick (who went on to win the Shield and finish in 5th place) and losing to Galway (who went on to lose the Cup final and finish in 2nd place). This meant that Corcaigh would contest the Arrabawn Plate (9th-12th place).
Last Saturday both teams went to Tipperary to play in their respective semi-finals. First up was Corcaigh who played Laois in Pairc na nÓg, Thurles. Corcaigh ran out comfortable winners on a scoreline of 3-19 to 2-14. In the cup, Cork were based in Moyne-Templetuohys ground to play Dublin and ran out successful on a scoreline of 1-20 to 2-12. With these two wins, both teams progressed to their respective finals in Boherlahan where Corcaigh would face Waterford and Cork would play Galway in the Cup final.
Arrabawn Plate Final (9th-12th Place Play-Off)
Corcaigh 3-13 Waterford 2-12
Corcaigh prevailed in a tight contest over a gallant Deise side to lift the Arrabawn Plate. Both sides had their purple patches, but it was Corcaigh who hung on in the end. Goals in the first half from Ben Nyhan (2) and Darragh O’Sullivan gave Cork a strong platform and went in at the short whistle 3-7 to 1-4 in front. Excellent free taking from Waterfords Patrick Fitzgerald keeping Waterford within touching distance. Waterford re-emerged invigorated in the second half and with 4 scores from Fitzgerald and a fantastic score from full-back Charlie Treen, Waterford had the deficit back to just 4 points. A brief respite for Corcaigh with a pointed free from O’Sullivan before Waterford struck for a goal to put two points between the teams. Corcaigh rallied again through centre-back Kevin Lyons scoring a point after gathering possession inside his own 45m line. Teams traded points from there out for Corcaigh to win on a scoreline of 3-13 to 2-12.
Arrabawn Cup Final (1st-4th Place Play-Off)
Cork 0-23 Galway 3-12
Cork won the Arrabawn trophy for the first time in 3 years with a fantastic team performance over a very strong Galway side. Galway got the first score of the match with a goal from full-forward Darren Shaughnessy. Cork responded well with scores from Eoin O’Leary, Jack Leahy, and Matt O’Callaghan. Another goal after 9 minutes from Tiarnan Leen gave Galway a 4-point advantage. Both teams traded points for the remainder of the first half with Leen, Shaughnessy and centre forward Eoghan Conneely each registering 2 points for Galway with William Buckley (3F), Leahy (2) and O’Leary with one point to give Galway a 2-8 to 0-10 half time lead.
The second half started much like the first with a Galway major early on from Michael Power. Teams shared points for the next 12 minutes and after 44 minutes Galway led 3-11 to 0-15 and looked in control. But from this point on Cork scored the next 5 points without reply from Buckley (1), Leahy (2), O’Leary (1) and substitute Oran O’Regan helping Cork draw level with 8 to go. Galway again put their nose in front with a superb score from out on the side-line from Eanna O’Loingsigh. Cork responded with a superb point from the cramping Buckley. With the clock ticking into the 61st minute, Corks wing forward Ben O’Connor caught a puck out and laid off a pass to the onrushing Tiarnan Roche, who scored to put Cork ahead. A further point from Jack Leahy proved the insurance point and when Ben O’Connor won the ensuing puck out, the referee called a halt to the game and Cork were crowned Arrabawn winners for the 4th time.