Sunday 21 April 2019

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Cork Independent

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Football championships continue

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019 4:32pm

A West Cork derby at the splendid Castlehaven facilities should attract a big crowd given the healthy rivalry between these neighbouring clubs.

Carbery Rangers enjoyed an excellent run in last year’s championship and at half-time in their semi-final with St Finbarrs, they looked in a good position to make the final.

That they didn’t will have occupied their thoughts over the winter months, but it should not detract from a brilliant second half from the eventual champions.

League form rarely counts when the championship arrives but Carbery Rangers manager Haulie O’Sullivan will be pleased at their recent results and he can, once again, call on an experienced squad of players.

John O’Rourke, Seamus Hayes, James Fitzpatrick, John Hayes and Tipperary star Robbie Kiely are joined by promising under 21 player Darragh Hayes.

Ilen are in a transitional period but can still call on quality performers in Dan McEoin, Sean O’Donovan, Stephen Leonard and Conor O’Driscoll.

Local derbies do take on a life of their own but Carbery Rangers look better balanced and should win.

As this is a preliminary round game, the winners will have little time to dwell on their success as a week later they face Charleville in a first round proper.

It's an interesting encounter between two teams that have enjoyed more good days then bad in the championship.

Erin’s Own have regularly competed at the business end in the last number of years, while Ballymartle have made life difficult for any team they have played in the same period.

Erin’s Own are seriously concerned about the fitness of Robbie O’Flynn and the Cork star is unlikely to feature and that represents a huge blow to the Caherlag side.

Long serving and quality goalkeeper Shay Bowen has also called time on his excellent career, and his replacement is none other than former Cork forward Kieran Murphy.

Eoghan Murphy remains a prolific scorer for Erin’s Own from play and placed balls, while Shane Murphy and James O’Flynn are still key players for them.

For the first time in a number of years, Ballymartle are managed and coached in-house, and it appears to be serving them well as they are in good form coming into this game.

Darren McCarthy, the Dwyers and Seamus and Brian Corry once again anchor their challenge which as ever will be formidable, but the odds favour an Erin’s Own win.

As double headers go, they do not get much better then Sunday’s in Macroom where four Muskerry clubs collide in what should be a cracking afternoon’s entertainment.

It gets underway at 2pm where last year’s intermediate champions, Cill Na Martra, take their bow at this level against Éire Óg who have Daniel Goulding, Kevin Hallissey and Ronan O’Toole in their ranks while Noel O’Leary remains an inspirational figure for the Gaelthacht side and gets excellent support from Micheal Ó Deasuna, Shane Ó Duinnin, Daire Mac Lochlainn and Graham Ó Mochain.

Éire Óg are the more experienced side at this level, but do not rule out a Cill Na Martra win.

The second encounter at 3.45pm is an all-Gaeltacht clash of Naomh Abán and Beal Atha an Ghaorthaidh, who are slight favourites with Liam Shorten one of their key players, while the possible absence of Micheal Ó Cronín from the Ballvourney outfit seriously reduces their scoring power and that could tilt the tie Ballingeary's way.

There are a total of seven games in this grade. Knocknagree - unbeaten to date - should be too strong for Kildorrery; Glanmire, now coached by former St Finbarr's manager Tony Leahy, will be fancied to get over Grenagh; Rockchapel will be expected to overcome the challenge of Ballinora, while Donnacha O’Connor, in fine form recently with Duhallow, should guide Ballydesmond to victory against Kinsale.

Adrigole have been going well in the league and might slip past Gabriel Rangers, while last year’s runners-up Aghabullogue face a tricky opening encounter against Mitchlestown and might have to settle for a trip to Round 2.

One of the games of the round should be the all-Duhallow clash of Dromtarriffe and Millstreet who have both been going very well in their league outings.

Seamus O’Sullivan, Jack Murphy, Dan Mann and Con O’Callaghan were brilliant as Dromtarriffe came so close to winning the Munster Junior Final back in December, and if they play as well again, they might just prevail in a match sure to attract a large crowd to the Cullen venue.

 

Having recovered from an opening day loss, the Cork minors, the reigning All-Ireland champions, face a vital game against Galway, where the winners will almost certainly secure a semi-final spot.

Emma Murphy, Fiona Keating, Clodagh Finn, Hannah Sexton, Aoife O’Neill and Claire Kingston all impressed in their wins over Wexford and Dublin, and should they maintain that form in Gort on Saturday, they might come through what is sure to be a tough test.

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