Tuesday 21 August 2018

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Focus turns back to clubs

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 9:07am

What an exciting weekend in store with every game a must win or else the season and championship ambitions are over for another year. With a host of inter-county stars in action, let’s hope the crowds turn out in big numbers.

Mallow is the venue for the meeting of Bishopstown and Kanturk on Saturday night and here the latter will be fancied to advance. That said, they have been struggling of late, but got a nice boost at weekend with a good win over Midleton.

They will of course look to their Cork contingent of Nash, Walsh and McLoughlin but there is a doubt surrounding Darren Browne.

Bishopstown were beaten recently by Sars, but with less distractions on the intercounty front, look capable of winning especially if Shane O’Neill, Ken O’Halloran, Patrick Cronin and Diarmuid Lester deliver big games.

There's an attractive double header in Midleton on Sunday afternoon, with east vs city sides in opposition.

First up, it's Killeagh vs St Finbarrs and this is a hard one to call, although Killeagh’s form of late has been poor, but they always lift themselves for championship. The ‘Barrs played poorly in losing to Newcestown and manager Ronan Curran will be looking for a big improvement and will expect it, and in Damien Cahalane, Bill Hennessey, Eoin Finn (if fit), and the impressive Conor Cahalane, they look better equipped to win.

The clash of Bride Rovers and Na Piarsaigh could well be the best game of the weekend. Na Piarsaigh will look to Christopher Joyce, Evan Sheehan and the talented Daire Connery to see them through this tricky looking encounter.

Rovers, with Barry Johnson, Daniel Dooley, Jerome O’Driscoll and the Roche brothers, Eoin and Brian, in their side, are well capable of winning especially if it’s tight coming down the stretch.

Ballymartle and Ballyhea meet in Mallow and it’s a game that the south east side will be favoured to win; Brian Corry returns from suspension, Darren McCarthy offers a lot in attack, while Ballyhea are over-reliant on Pa O’Callaghan for scores, and if he is held, they will struggle.

 

Kiskeam and Aghada have already exited the championship and they will be joined by three more clubs this weekend.

The splendid Clonakilty complex hosts an interesting double-header on Saturday night. Carrigaline and Ilen Rovers open proceedings at 5.45pm and both sides are in the process of rebuilding, especially the men from the west, but the presence of Kevin O’Sullivan and Dan McEoin in attack might just swing the tie their way.

Douglas and Dohenys follow at 7.15pm and it’s a huge match for the Dunmanway side as defeat will once again plunge them into a relegation battle, and with a very young team on duty, that’s a difficult place to be.

Douglas have not been shooting the lights out of late, but if Sean Powter is fit and with Eoin Cadogan and Kevin Flahive in their team, they should win.

The final game is probably the most appealing of them all, with the meeting of Clonakilty and Newcestown, who meet in Dunmanway on Sunday.

It’s been a difficult season for Clon, with several of their players abroad and a number tied up with Cork, but this is one game they will be well up for, against neighbours and rivals.

The White brothers, Sean and Mark, along with Tom Clancy are key men for Clon, while Newcestown will look to Carthach Keane and Luke Meade in an effort make it to Round 3. Very hard one to call but a nod, hesitantly, to Clonakilty.

 

There’s a host of third games in these grades; in football, Gabriel Rangers should overcome the challenge of Youghal; Knocknagree will be too strong for Adrigole; likewise Cill Na Martra will be expected to beat Glanworth; Millstreet are favourites in their clash with Kinsale, while picking a winner between Mitchelstown and Rockchapel is not easy - Larry Tompkins is back with the North Cork side and he will hoping they can prevail.

The mid-Cork derby between Grenagh and Aghabullogue is a toss-up, with the coin falling on the latter’s side.

In hurling, there is plenty to choose from. The junior champions of the last two years Mayfield and St Catherine’s meet in Fermoy and here the city side should just about edge a close contest.

Sars and Kildorrery should be lively with Kildorerry slightly fancied; Dungourney will be fancied to beat Tracton, while Blackrock should win their clash with Barryroe.

Glen Rovers were impressive in beating Ballinhassig, and with a few more players available, they should advance to Round 4 at the expense of Castlemarytr.

 

Not for the first time, the Cork camogie and ladies football teams find themselves at the centre of a fixture clash, not of their own making, especially dual players Hannah Looney and Libby Coppinger.

The fact that it is happening on such a regular basis, you would be forgiven for thinking there is an anti-Cork agenda out there.

It was very clear from when the group phase of the Camogie Championships were drawn, that Cork were going to top their group and the semi-finals were scheduled for 18 August, as a double-header.

For the Ladies Football Association to pencil the Cork game for the same date defies logic, and their refusal to put it back to 25 August at Cork’s request, is even more baffling and to be honest, absolutely disgraceful.

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