The clash of Nenagh Éire Óg and Burgess on Sunday, September 14th in the final of the Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh (3.30pm ET) makes for an attractive proposition.
Although Éire Óg will probably be made favourites to win the game a very strong case can be made for Burgess to land a first-ever north title.
Indeed, Sunday is likely to represent an emotional occasion for a Burgess side who have only appeared in the divisional final once more - Burgess were defeated in dramatic circumstances by Kildangan in 2008.
Although Éire Óg appeared in the 2013 county final, won the Frank McGrath Cup as recently as 2009 and are also undefeated in league and championship hurling this year the Burgess men’s ambitions will be nourished by a couple of encouraging performances against the Blues in recent years.
Burgess got the better of Éire Óg in their last championship meeting in 2012 - on that occasion Burgess beat Nenagh in the opening round of the county championship (2-9 to 0-13) at Dolla. Meanwhile Burgess also managed to get the better of Éire Óg in a league final in 2013 - on that occasion Burgess prevailed after a replay.
The sides actually met in the first competitive outing of the year on March 2nd when Éire Óg beat Burgess 4-14 to 2-11 in the Senior Hurling Challenge Cup at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.
Burgess, to their credit, recovered from that initial defeat in the challenge cup to beat Éire Óg Annacarty (3-14 to 0-17), Killenaule (3-20 to 2-11) and Ballingarry (0-12) before losing to Clonoulty-Rossmore in the final on a 2-14 to 2-16 scoreline.
In the county championship Burgess lost to Drom & Inch, but fought back from eight points down against Borris-Ileigh to earn a vital draw. Burgess also beat Silvermines to place themselves nicely for a spot in the last sixteen.
Burgess, however, have been even more impressive in the north championship beating Lorrha (0-24 to 1-17), Silvermines (2-15 to 2-10), Moneygall (0-20 to 2-8) and, most recently, Kilruane (1-16 to 0-17) at the semi-final stage.
The Burgess defence was excellent during that semi-final win over hot favourites Kilruane.
Prior to that game Dinny Cahill’s men had blasted fourteen goals in six championship matches, but against Burgess the MacDonagh’s didn’t enjoy a single glimpse at Niall McGrath’s goal. Time and time again turnover ball was won by a defence which conceded just three points from freesand restricted Niall O’Meara, one of the most exciting young forwards in Tipperary, to a single point.
Burgess are managed by Pat Cremin who is assisted by selectors Shane Ryan and Dinny Darcy while Limerick’s Darren Harrington takes responsibility for the coaching duties.
Éire Óg are also coached by a Limerick man, namely John Fitzgerald. Liam Heffernan manages the team while Enda Costello and Noel Coffey are selectors.
For their part Éire Óg are undefeated in competitive action this year. In the county championship the Blues accounted for Clonoulty-Rossmore, the Templederry Kenyons and Roscrea to win their respective group.
Éire Óg performed well in the challenge cup as well and progressed to the final where they accounted for Toomevara (0-22 to 3-11).
Nenagh were drawn, once again, against Templederry and Roscrea in the north Tipperary senior hurling championship and accounted for both (2-18 to 1-11 and 3-12 to 1-10 respectively).
In the quarter-finals Éire Óg faced and beat defending champions Kildangan (1-16 to 1-12) while the Blues edged a physical battle with Borris-Ileigh (2-13 to 1-14) in the last four.
A really super contest is in store at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on Sunday. And, there is every chance that Burgess could write another chapter in their storied history.
Watch out for Donagh Maher, captain Damien O’Brien and corner-forward Stephen Murray to star for the Burgess men while Éire Óg will look to centre-back Hugh Maloney, Paddy Murphy and Michael Heffernan for leadership.