March 2nd, 2018

Hibernian Cup cancelled for 2019 & 2020, maybe longer

Block_screenshot 2018-10-06 at 2

Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Hibernian Cup cancelled for 2019 & 2020, maybe longer
file photo by Mark Sims

When the DeSales and Holy Cross football teams meet Friday, Aug. 31st, it’ll be the last time these two longtime Southend Catholic school rivals will meet on the football field for at least two years.

DeSales athletic director Don Bowers informed the Louisville Catholic Sports Network that Holy Cross has decided to cancel the Hibernian Cup in 2019 and 2020.

“I was disappointed, but I understand,” Bowers said. “I wish we could continue with the rivalry, but I see where they’re coming from. We’re moving up to Class 3-A, they’re staying in Class A. It’s going to make it even harder for them to compete.”

As of late, the Colts have dominated the series having won the won the last eight matchups by a score of 252-22 and 204-0 in the last five contests.

“We looked at the proposed realignment and the new districts for the new two year cycle coming out,” Holy Cross athletic director Jody Thornsberry said. “We looked at our entire schedule and basically felt like that was the best for our school and for our program at this time.”

The last win for Holy Cross was a 12-0 victory in 2010.

With DeSales moving up to Class 3-A in 2019, the chances of Holy Cross moving the thread back to a more competitive edge in the near future doesn’t look likely.

“I think the DeSales community will be okay with it, but will be disappointed,” Bowers said. “You want to keep that rivalry – we’re just now getting ready to play St. Xavier again after 25 years. When you stop playing somebody, it’s hard to start playing again.

“I told Jody and the Holy Cross people that when they’re ready, we would be happy to put them back on the schedule. It’s a good rivalry for the two communities and obviously you have the Hibernian Cup which we’ve been playing for the past five years. It’s going to sit with us until we decide to play again.”

The Colts own a 28-16 record since the series began in 1984.

“We’re definitely open to playing DeSales again,” Thornsberry said. “We evaluated our program for this year and next year and we looked at our roster. We saw other opportunities and experiences that our kids could play in. We’ll evaluate our program in two years and if the schedule works out right and if it’s best for our students, we have no problem playing again.”

Before that, Bishop David, whom merged with Angela Merici to form Holy Cross, had played DeSales every year since 1962.

The two schools are only separated by 4.5 miles.

“It’s a nice community event that I’m going to miss,” Bowers said. “They’re literally right across the hill from us over Iroquois Park. The kids went to grade school together, played each other in grade school. They know each other. It’s a fun rivalry.”

Bishop David owned a 15-7 record including a 10-game winning streak when the two rivals played from 1962-84.

“Over the last couple of years I’m going to miss how the kids get pumped up for the game,” Thornsberry said. “To be honest, when I was in school at Holy Cross, our rival was PRP (Pleasure Ridge Park) and the other schools that were in our district. Sometime before I became AD is when DeSales and Holy Cross became such a big rivalry.”

The two teams will both have to look to find a new opponent to fill a spot that has been held for the past 34 years, 56 years if you include the series with Bishop David.

“As of right now we’re placed in a six team district so we are going to have five guaranteed games,” Bowers said. “We’re opening with St. Xavier in 2019. We have spoken with Butler and Fairdale so we already have eight games.

“A team that we would like to keep on the schedule would be Lexington Catholic. We’d love to have Lexington Catholic continue back with us in the next scheduling cycle and we’ve reached out to a few other local teams who might be willing to fill that Holy Cross spot.”

The Cougars have already started planning their future schedule.

“We’re looking at playing in two possible bowl games the first two weeks of the year,” Thornsberry said. “It’s an opportunity to play in great venues and on turf. We will continue our rivalry with Providence (Ind.). We’re fortunate to have Bethlehem back in our district so that’s good.

“Not sure if we’re going to still play our current district teams – Frankfort and KCD (Kentucky Country Day) – but Campbellsville and Fort Knox will be added to our district. We’re looking at playing a couple of JCPS teams that are in our area. We still have a couple of holes to fill.”  

For a lot Southenders, it’s a sad day, but for others, it’s a logical decision the Holy Cross community had to make.


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