Divisions and camogie set to take centre stage
After a hectic and at times dramatic four weeks of activity for the clubs - especially for the dual clubs - this weekend the finals in both divisional series are down for decision on Sunday night.
As we reflect on the action it’s just a pity that while some of the games were exciting, the lack of crowds did not help, especially in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Hopefully by the time we arrive at the knockout stage, this situation might have improved, although events of recent days is a cause of concern.
Tuesday’s decision to not allow spectators attend games has come as a hammer blow to all sporting organisations, but from a GAA perspective it’s a real blow, not so long ago they have expected it would rise to 500. That didn’t happen and now this, it makes you wonder how long more county boards can continue with no income.
It also raises question as to whether there will be an inter-county season at all under the current restrictions.
What was also notable is how the dual clubs have fared; with the exception of Blackrock/St Michael’s, very few have managed to as of yet advance in both and for some their championship aspirations are over.
These include St Finbarrs in hurling, St Nick’s in football, Bishopstown in both, Na Piarsaigh in football, Mayfield in football, while Douglas need big wins in both codes to prolong their seasons, others like Newcestown, Mallow, Fermoy and Kanturk have found the four weeks on the bounce tough going.
It’s been exceptionally taxing on the dual players, they will be glad of the weeks rest, but is it fair on them? Even professional players get a break, and they only play one code. The fixture makers would need to look at this going forward.
I am sure there are many more clubs who have found the demands tough going, and while there has been general acceptance that the championships has been a huge success, it will be interesting to see how it will pan out next year if we have a normal season.
Imokilly v UCC
As predicted UCC had their expected win over Duhallow to set up what should be an interesting decider on Sunday. The match will have benefitted UCC, although some of their non Cork-based players might be in action with their clubs before they face the reigning champions.
However that is not unusual for UCC and they will cope as they have done in the past.
Imokilly will have lost of a few players that were central to their success of recent years and their preparation may have been hampered by the activity of all of their clubs for the last month, but they still have quality in their squad.
Bill Cooper, Seamus Harnedy, John Cronin, Colm and Anthony Spillane will anchor a team that will be very determined to stay in the race for a fourth successive title. UCC also have some very talented players in their team among them Mark Coleman, Shane Conway, David Griffin, David Lowney, Paddy O’Loughlin and Owen McCarthy.
It should be an interesting encounter with the odds favouring the champions to make it to the quarter-final of the Co-Op Superstores Senior Hurling Championship.
Bon Secours Senior Football Championship
The final of the football section is also down for decision on Sunday night with Duhallow in the decider courtesy of Beara’s failure to field owing to a lengthy injury list, this emerged late on Tuesday night and will have come as a disappointment, especially for Duhallow as the game will have deprived of much needed game time.
UCC and Carbery were due to meet on Wednesday night, and whoever wins will determine the venue for the 7pm start.
SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship
There are four games down for the weekend and all will take place in Castle Road.
First up on Saturday at 4pm is the clash of champions Sarsfields v Douglas and this has the makings of an intriguing encounter between two very good teams.
Sars were beaten by Glen Rovers first time out but recovered to defeat Cloughduv thanks in the main to the contributions from Niamh O’Callaghan, Molly Lynch and Saiorse Desmond, but Douglas can call on the talented Mackey sisters Pamela and Catriona, Juliet White and Jess Kavanagh and they might just have enough to end the champions reign.
The first of three games on Sunday is at 12.30am and sees Killeagh playing Ballygarvan who ground out a win over former champions Milford on Monday night with Michaela Buckley, Isobel O’Regan and Catriona Kelly impressing.
However Killeagh hold all the aces with a trio of Cork stars in Laura Treacy, Hannah Looney and Chole Sigerson and look better equipped to advance.
This is followed at 3.30pm by the meeting of Glen Rovers and Seandun - the latter easy winners over Imokilly, but it’s hard to judge how good they were as the latter suffered another heavy defeat in a second round loss to Newcestown. Katlyn Hickey, Hayley Ryan, Susan Kate Brosnan and Niamh O’Leary impressed in that win.
Glen Rovers showed a new maturity in their first round win over Sars, who looked likely winners entering the last quarter, but Glen’s response was excellent outscoring the champions by 0-5 to 0-1 in that period.
Leanne O’Sullivan, Lauren Callanan, Denise Luby, Emma Murphy, Lydia Cunningham and Karen O’Connell are real leaders in this team and if they re-produce that form over a consistent 60 minutes they look well capable of winning what should be a cracking contest.
The final game is on Sunday at 6.30pm between Newcestown and Courcey Rovers with the odds favouring the latter to advance to the quarter-finals.
The final round of games go ahead in the Premier 1 Minor Football Championship with a lot at stake in both groups, all games are at 7pm on Wednesday next.
In Group 1 it’s Beara v Gabriel Rangers in Ballydehob, while Barryroe is the venue for the meeting of Ibane Gaels and Inniscarra.
Group 2 will see Glanmire playing Nemo Rangers in Sallybrook and champions Douglas enjoying home advantage for their clash with Ballincollig.
Its quarter-final time in the Senior ‘A’ Championship and some attractive ties on the agenda.
On Saturday at 7pm in Carrigadrohid, St Vals will play Eire Og, while at the same time in Rostellan Aghada will face Kinsale.
Finally stay safe, and let’s enjoy the games while they are still on.