Lots at stake in final round of football championships
As with the hurling last weekend, the final round of games in the Bon Secours Football Championship will generate huge interest, especially for those clubs with a lot to play. For others it will be a case of completing their programme with nothing to play for.
Premier Senior Football - all games on Sunday at 2pm
Group A - Nemo Rangers v Douglas and Valley Rovers v Carrigaline
Champions Nemo Rangers surprise defeat to Valley Rovers in the first round threw this group wide open - and three of the four teams can still qualify. Douglas who play Nemo in Páirc Uí Rinn are almost certain to advance with 4 points.
If Nemo win, the three teams could all finish on 4 points, as Valley Rovers will be expected to bounce back from their narrow defeat to Douglas when they play their South-East rivals Carrigaline in Ballinhassig whose heavy defeat by Nemo last time out has given the holders a vital edge should they beat Douglas.
Any game between these near neighbours evokes huge interest and that should make it another lively encounter.
Brian Hartnett, Sean Powter, Kevin Flahive and Conor Russell are key players for Douglas where a third win could - depending on results elsewhere - could propel them into a semi-final. Nemo will always raise their game when facing Douglas and with Luke Connolly, Kieran Histon, Paul Kerrigan, Barry O’Driscoll and Stephen Cronin determined to extend their season, the champions should win.
Valley Rovers should be too good for Carrigaline and even if they win, the scoring difference will come into play, and they might just lose out.
Group B - Castlehaven v Carbery Rangers and Eire Og v Newcestown
One spot up for grabs here as Castlehaven are already assured of progression but a third win might get them the semi-final spot. They face their West Cork rivals Carbery Rangers who are out of contention and the expectations is that the ‘Haven will prevail when they meet in Leap. Brian and Michael Hurley, Mark Collins, Cathal Maguire and the Cahalane brothers will want to win and take the shortest route possible to the knockout stages.
The second spot in this group rests with the winners of the Eire Og v Newcestown game in Kilmurry, with a lot at stake.
Both sides have had dual involvement in recent weeks, Eire Og out of the hurling while Newcestown have a quarter-final to look forward to. It’s been a very long season for the Mid-Cork side and that might takes its toll, equally it might give them extra motivation to extend their season.
Daniel Goulding, John Cooper and Ronan O’Toole might have enough to get them over the line, but one thing is certain - they will be tested by a determined and very committed Newcestown side.
Group C - St Finbarrs v Clonakilty and Ilen Rovers v Ballincollig
This group is done and dusted, the ‘Barr’s and Clon are qualified so their meeting in Coachford will decide who tops the group, while in Ballinacarriga both Ballincollig and Ilen Rovers are playing to avoid the relegation play-off - Ballincollig and St Finbarr’s to win.
So when it’s all over around 3.20pm on Sunday, Castlehaven to get the semi-final spot, with Nemo Rangers, Douglas, St Finbarr’s, Clonakilty and Eire Og to make the quarter-finals.
Senior A - all games on Sunday at 4pm
Group A - O’Donovan Rossa v Ballingeary and Doheny’s v Bandon
In a very tight group all 4 teams could actually progress which should make for an intriguing afternoon, with Bandon slightly better off with 3 points and a draw with Doheny’s in Enniskeane will be enough for them to progress and they look good enough to get at least that.
Aughaville is the venue for the clash of Ballingeary and O’Donovan Rossa with the latter on just 1 point, but they might just shade this one and give them a chance of progressing but they are dependent on results elsewhere.
Group B - Bishopstown v Kiskeam and Knocknagree v St Michaels
All is resolved in this group while the sides that meet in Glantane - Knocknagree and St Michaels - will decide who wins the group, and these are two very good teams, the semi-final spot is the prize for the winners, with JF Daly’s side slightly favoured to get it.
For the other two sides, the battle is to stay clear of the relegation playoff when they meet in Carrigadroihid, and having avoided that prospect with their hurlers last week, Bishopstown might do just that but Kiskeam will test them.
Group C - Fermoy v
Clyda Rovers and Bantry Blues v Mallow
Mallow having advanced in the hurling last week, are in pole position in this group with 4 points and should make it 3 for 3 when they play pointless Bantry Blues in Cill Na Martra. The big game here is the North Cork derby between Fermoy and Clyda Rovers in Ballyclough.
Clyda have a raft of injuries to key players and that won’t help their cause and could very well tilt the tie in Fermoy’s direction.
So Knocknagree and Mallow for the semi-finals, with St Michaels, Fermoy, Bandon and Doheny’s to make the quarters.
Premier Intermediate - all games on Saturday at 7.30pm
Group A is finalised with Kanturk and Naomh Aban battling to determine who will top the table; Kanturk with a touch more quality will be fancied, but their commitments of late might just leave them vulnerable, especially now that they are assured of at the very least a quarter-final spot.
In Group B, unbeaten Cill Na Martra should maintain that run in Páirc Uí Rinn when they play St Vincent’s who are pointless.
The meeting of Nemo Rangers and Rockchapel in Glantane will decide who gets the second spot, hard to go against Nemo when it comes to doing the business when needed.
Group C is finely balanced; Aghada have a slight advantage on 3 points and they will look to beat Na Piarsaigh when they face off in Carrigtwohill, but the latter had a good win last time out and will really test the Est Cork side but that may not be enough.
Newmarket and Castletownbere meet in Dunmanway where are draw will be good enough for the Beara lads, but with an outside chance of progressing they will get nothing easy from the Duhallow lads.
Kanturk and Cill Na Martra to make the semi-finals with Naomh Aban, Nemo Rangers, Aghada and Castletownbere for the last eight.
Intermediate A - all games on Sunday at 4pm
Having qualified in hurling, Aghabullogue look set to make it a good few days by progressing in football from Group A where they will be expected to beat Glanmire in Ballyanly, who shipped a heavy defeat to Mitchelstown in the last round and even if Tomás O’Se’s men do win, the scale of the loss in the last round will prove their undoing.
By the same token, Mitchlelstown should add to their scoring tally when they play pointless Kildorrery in Araglen.
In Group B Kilshannig on 4 points look set to advance and will be expected to beat Adrigole in Castletownkenneigh; Glanworth play Glenville in Fermoy where a win for the North Cork side should see them get the second place on offer.
Group C sees last year’s Junior Champions Iveleary in pole position with 2 wins from 2 and will be keen to complete this phase unbeaten when they play Kinsale in Brinny, while the second spot will be decided when St Finbarr’s play Millstreet in Macroom with the latter fancied, but do not rule a ‘Barrs win as they have depth and the possibility of a few hurlers joining their panel now that their season ended last Sunday.
Group D is finely balanced with all 4 teams on 2 points, so effectively the games this round are knockout.
Ballinora and Ballydesmond meet in Donoughmore and with Donnacha O’Connor a possible absentee a nod to Ballinora in this one, while in Kilmichael, Dromtarriffe might just get the better of Gabriel Rangers.
Quarter-finalists could very well be Aghabullogue, Mitchelstown, Kilshannig, Glanworth, Iveleary, St Finbarr’s, Ballinora and Dromtarriffe.
SE Systems Senior Camogie semi-finals
Castle Road will host both of these eagerly awaited encounters on Saturday with St Finbarr’s and Inniscarra first up at 1.15pm.
Both sides have improved as they progressed through the rounds especially Inniscarra as they recovered from a first round loss and impressed with a comfortable win over Killeagh in the last round.
The ‘Barr’s were much too strong for Glen Rovers and with a two week run in to this game might be that bit fresher, Gemma O’Connor is as effective as ever while Meabh Cahalane is also showing renewed energy.
Katie O’Mahoney, Aileen Sheeahn, Aoife Kavanagh and Joanne Casey are all very experienced players who know how to win games of this importance could be crucial if it’s as expected it goes to the wire.
Seandun and recent winners Sars meet at 4.15pm and the divisional side will have to contend with a number of their players lining out with their club Blackrock in the Intermediate Championship earlier in the day - not the ideal preparation for a game of this significance.
Sars have shown what they are capable in recent games and with Katlynn Sheehan in top form with her scoring rate and if she is not held, Sars might just get over the line.
Paudie Murray has stepped down after 10 years at the helm with the Senior team, winning in that period four All-Ireland, League and Munster Championship titles and leaving the team in good shape to win a few
During his tenure he was co-operative and helpful, my thanks for his help at all times and the very best of luck for his next venture - strongly rumoured to be the Cork Minor Hurling Manager.
Minors on Monday
Following the hurling double-header last Monday night, it’s back to Páirc Uí Rinn next Monday for the Rebel Og Minor Football Finals.
In Premier 2 at 6.15pm it’s Eire Og v Bishopstown followed at 8pm an all-city decider in Premier 1 St Michaels v St Finbarr’s, where both sides have some excellent players and a repeat of their group game which finished all square a sure sign that it will be as tight this time around.
Ben O’Connor and William Buckley are key men for the ‘Barrs, while Michaels will look to goalkeeper Mikey O’Connell, a hero in their semi-final win over Nemo Rangers where he saved 3 and scored 1 in the penalty shoot out, Lee Sullivan, Sam Murphy and Eoin Coughlan are others to impress for the Dazzlers.
Hard to call, St Finbarr’s are favourites and they might justify that tag.
The Premier 2 hurling final replay is also fixed for Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday at 12pm when Shandrum play Killtha Og and if it’s as exciting and dramatic as the drawn encounter it should be well worth watching.