Clubs will welcome weekend off
After 4 weeks of cracking action, drama, excitement and surprise results in both codes and all grades, clubs will be glad that they have the weekend off, to recharge the batteries ahead of what for most clubs will be the defining game in the group stages.
For some it will be their final game of the season, for others it will either be a relegation battle or an extended championship run. It’s been a demanding schedule for clubs, especially the dual clubs of which there are many in the county, and injuries and other factors come into play at what is now the pivotal stage of the championships.
This weekend the focus is very much on the colleges and divisional section of both championships.
Colleges and divisions
At the time of writing, only one semi-final had been played and it is Imokilly who will contest Sunday’s hurling final in Páirc Uí Rinn at 6pm, this will be followed by the football final at 7.45pm.
The respective winners will then enter the championship proper at the quarter-final stage, and it might be the case after playing just 1 game while the other quarter-finalists will have played 3 games to reach the very same stage.
Imokilly really put MTU to the sword and with some very good players in their squad, they will be a handful for anyone especially if they make the quarter-final. The one complication could very well be if a number of the division’s club make progress, preparation might impact on their progress.
How they stand - football
With one round to go, a number of issues have been resolved but there is still a lot to play for in all grades in both codes.
In Bon Secours Premier Senior Football, what we do know is that Nemo Rangers, Mallow, Carbery Rangers and champions St Finbarr’s are safely through to the knockout phase, guaranteed at least a quarter-final spot, while for one of them, a semi-final spot will be secured depending on the outcome of their final game - right now the odds favour the ‘Barrs getting that coveted spot.
Carrigaline and Eire Og are out of the championship and will play to avoid a relegation play-off.
In other groups, the final results will determine the fate of among others, last year’s runners-up Clonakilty and beaten semi-finalists Douglas where results elsewhere will play a part in determining their fate, while the meeting of Castlehaven and Newcestown could see the winners secure a quarter-final spot in what should be a lively contest.
In Senior A, St Michaels and O’Donovan Rossa are setting the pace, Bishopstown got themselves back into contention with a great win over Knocknagree who with 2 defeats are out of the running - an unusual occurrence for this group of players who are obviously feeling the effects of a few long campaigns and a lengthy injury list.
Ilen Rovers and Bandon are, like Knocknagree, looking to avoid a relegation play-off.
In Premier Intermediate, all eyes will be on Group A, where Nemo Rangers have 2 wins from 2, and play Iveleary in their last game, while it’s Cill Na Martra v St Vincent’s who with 2 losses are out of contention.
Scoring difference could come into play here, if both mid-Cork teams were to win.
Bantry Blues and Kanturk look set for the quarter-finals, while along with St Vincent’s, Na Piarsaigh and Naomh Aban are battling to stay in the grade.
The Intermediate A grade has a lot at stake with the bottom team in each group dropping to the new Premier Junior next season which will be comprised of those relegated and the 8 divisional champions, a few anxious moments ahead on Saturday 3 September for the clubs involved.
How they stand - hurling
It’s a similar story in the Co-Op Superstores Hurling Championship, although very few teams have actually secured their place in the knockout phase.
The exceptions in Premier Senior are Douglas and Erin’s Own as with 4 points each look safe and will be in contention for the one semi-final place on offer.
By contrast with 2 defeats, Na Piarsaigh and Kanturk are in a battle to survive.
The most intriguing group is the so-called ‘group of death’ where all 4, St Finbarr’s, Blackrock, Charleville and Sarsfields can progress or be knocked out.
In Senior A, Cloyne, Killeagh and Ballymartle are pointless, while the big game in this grade will be the meeting of Blarney and Courcey Rovers, while Carrigtwohill, Bride Rovers and Ballyhea are in contention for the 2 spots on offer.
Youghal and Ballincollig look to be out of the running in Premier Intermediate, while Inniscarra and Ballinhassig seem certain to progress.
Sarsfield’s, Cloughduv and Kildorrery are safely into the quarter-finals in Intermediate A, while Mayfield, Meelin and Douglas are embroiled in the relegation dogfight.
Finally, in the Premier Junior grade, Kilbrittain, Ballygiblin, Russell Rovers, Argideen Rangers and Tracton have done enough to extend their championship run - for the rest it’s a case of can we save our status?
It will make for an intriguing weekend of action and we will have a closer look at these games next week.
SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship
There’s a major change this year with the championship moving to the round-robin group format with 2 from each group to contest the quarter-finals and it should prove successful if somewhat demanding on clubs that had players involved in recent All-Ireland Finals.
It got underway recently with games in the divisional section.
Champions Seandun despite being without a number of key players were much too strong for Carbery, with Imokilly beating Carrigdhoun.
In the clubs section on Tuesday night, Cloughduv got the better of Fr O’Neill’s while Ballygarvan got the better of Newcestown.
There was two games last night (Wednesday), with St Finbarr’s v Enniskeane and Inniscarra meeting Courcey Rovers.
There are 2 more games tonight (Thursday) - Castle Road is the venue for the clash of Douglas and Glen Rovers, while there’s a Muskerry derby in Grenagh between Eire Og and Ballincollig both games at 7.30pm.
The divisions return to action early next week on Sunday.
It’s Carbery v Avondhu at 4pm, and on Monday at 7.30pm, Seandun play Imoikilly - both games at Castle Road.
It should make for a feast of exciting camogie and with the inter-county players looking to put the disappointment of Croke Park behind them, they will welcome this return to action.