Luke Connolly is back in action for Nemo Rangers this weekend. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Key weekend in football championships

With hurling having been the main focus of attention for the last fortnight, the Bon Secours County Football Championship swings back into action this weekend and like last week, it will be a season defining one for several clubs, especially those that suffered first round defeats.

Last weekend a number of clubs saw their hurling championship ambitions come to an end in various grades, and St Michaels, Carrigaline and Valley Rovers in the top grade all have must win games.

That scenario filters down to clubs in all 5 grades, the one difference, unlike hurling clubs whose season ended in the space of 7 days, football clubs have had 3 weeks to prepare, unless of course you are a dual club.

Premier Senior

Group A

Castlehaven v Valley Rovers on Saturday at 5pm in Clonakilty

The ‘Haven drew with their neighbours from Rosscarbery last time out while Valleys were well beaten by a slick moving Clonakilty side, so they really have to win this one. Equally Castlehaven cannot afford to drop any more points.

Brian Hurley is still an absentee but with Rory Maguire, Mark Collins, Michael Hurley and Damien Cahalane still performing to the highest of standards the ‘Haven should win.

Clonakilty v Carbery Rangers on Sunday at 3pm in Enniskeane

Local derbies are notoriously difficult to predict and Carbery Rangers with John O’Rourke and John Hayes impressing will be pleased at the point they battled to get last time and will face this game in confident mood.

Clon will be buoyed by the manner and margin of their 1st round win and with Thomas Clancy, Liam O’Donovan, Mark and Sean White along with Maurice Shanley playing well, they look set to make it two from two.

Group B

Nemo Rangers v Éire Óg on Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 4pm

Luke Connolly returns for the champions and his presence in attack is a huge boost against a side that have been going well despite the absence of a few key players and now there’s a doubt about Daniel Goulding as he is carrying an injury.

Colm O’Callaghan and Joe Cooper are big player for the mid-Cork side who had a narrow win over Carrigaline in their opening game.

Nemo were comfortable winners over Ballincollig and with Paul Kerrigan as effective as ever, along with Barry O’Driscoll, Mark Cronin, Micheál Aodh Martin and Kevin O’Donovan, it’s hard to see Nemo losing this one.

Ballincollig v Carrigaline on Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 2pm

It’s a must win game for both as a 2nd defeat will more or less end their campaign, Ballicollig only managed 0-6 in the loss to Nemo, and the absence of Luke Fahy did not help, unless they get a much better scoring return, they look unlikely to win this one.

Group C

St Finbarrs v St Michaels on Friday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm

‘Barrs were so impressive in their demolition of Mallow that many now see them as potential champions, but this could be a tricky encounter especially as Michaels - who battled hard before losing narrowly to Douglas - will know what’s at stake.

Ian Maguire got 2 goals against Mallow and with Steven Sherlock, Billy Hennessey, Ethan Twomey, Brian Hayes and Sam Ryan leading the way, they look well equipped to win.

Mallow v Douglas on Saturday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 3pm

It’s been a tough few weeks for Mallow in both codes with Douglas at the other end of the scale. Their hurlers are through to the knockout phase and the footballers will look to join them by winning this game.

Mattie Taylor and Ryan Harkin are battling away for the North Cork side but with Brian Hartnett, Sean Powter, Kevin Flahive and the returning Shane Kingston in good form expect a Douglas win.

Senior A

Group A

Knocknagree v Fermoy on Saturday in Buttevant at 5pm

Knocknagree find themselves in unfamiliar territory coming into this game knowing they must win to keep their remarkable record going, but injuries and the toil of a few long years on the road may just be catching up with this group of players.

Fermoy looked to have Kanturk beaten in the 1st round but succumbed to a couple of late goals, so morale might not be the best, but they did dig out an important hurling win last weekend, so that will help - a draw could be on the cards here.

O’Donovan Rossa v Kanturk on Sunday in Macroom at 4pm

Big game here with the winners almost certain to progress and with Kanturk having picked up a couple of injuries last Sunday, Aidan Walsh among them, they could be vulnerable, but it would be foolish to write them off. However with less complications, a slight fancy for the Skibb lads here.

Group B

Clyda Rovers v Kiskeam on Saturday in Kanturk at 7.30pm

Clyda were desperately unlucky to lose by just a point in their opener, while Kiskeam were beaten by their Duhallow rivals Newmarket, so it’s easy to figure out what’s at stake here.

Conor Corbett, Ben Nyhan and the experienced Paudie Kissane might just have enough to get the Mourneabbey lads over the line.

Ballingeary v Newmarket on Sunday in Kiskeam at 4pm

Interesting contest in prospect here with the first round winners doing battle knowing that a win will extend their season into the knockout phase of a very competitive championship.

Hard to call this one but an ever so slight fancy for the Gaelthacht lads especially if the Shortens hit form.

Group C

Bishopstown v Dohenys on Sunday in Bandon at 4pm

The city lads looked impressive in their comfortable win over Ilen in Round 1 and that will put them in good shape for this game even though Paul Honohan could be an absentee as he picked up an injury in the hurlers’ loss last Saturday.

Michael Power, Brian Clifford, Kieran McFadden and Darragh O’Donovan are part of a new look Bishopstown who look good for another two points, even though Mark Buckley, Colm O’Shea and Aaron Mannix could trouble the ‘town defence as they did in their win over Newcestown.

Newcestown v Ilen Rovers on Saturday in Rossmore at 5pm

Even though they lost narrowly in their opening game, Newcestown showed enough to suggest they will have a big say in this group, and their back to back win in the hurling with a lot of the same players will have helped.

Ilen would appear to be in a period of transition and that is never easy and with Luke Meade, Niall Kelly, Colm O’Donovan, Sean O’Donovan and James Kelleher key players for Newcestown, they should win.

Premier Intermediate

Group A

Nemo Rangers v Bandon on Saturday in Carrigadrohid at 5pm

It’s rare that Nemo lose two games in a row in any championship and with Bandon going through a poor run of results in both codes, the city side look good enough to extend Bandon’s losing streak.

Castletownbere v Rockchapel on Sunday in Clondrohid at 4pm

The men from the peninsula will have been delighted to take Nemo’s scalp in the 1st round, but they face a tough test here and they might just have to settle for 2nd best.

Group B

Bantry Blues v Naomh Abán on Sunday in Inchigeela at 4pm

Both had wins first day out, Naomh Abán a welcome one after a run of poor results, equally Ruairí Deane was a key player for the Blues and if he is contained, the Ballyvourney lads could put themselves in a strong position in the group.

Iveleary v Macroom on Saturday in Cill Na Martra at 4pm

A lot at stake in this mid-Cork derby and not easy picking a winner but maybe the presence of Chris Óg Jones, who had a good season with Cork seniors and Cathal Vaughan in Iveleary’s attack might just get them over the line.

Group C

Aghada v Na Piarsaigh on Saturday in Cobh at 5pm

It’s been a tough few weeks for Aghada in both codes but the one thing that might just stand to them is that they have suffered a couple of narrow defeats. By contrast Na Piarsaigh were at the wrong end of a heavy defeat by Kilshannig and it’s hard to see them turning that around, although the hurlers’ win last week will help.

Cill Na Marta v Kilshannig on Sunday in Donoughmore at 4pm

This has the makings of a cracking contest between two very evenly matched teams who harbour serious ambitions of making an impact in this championship.

Contrasting, but nevertheless wins in the first round and good players on both sides, very little dividing these sides so I’m going to sit on the fence and say a draw.

Intermediate A

Kildorrery v Mitchelstown - prediction Mitchelstown

Glenville v Aghabullogue - prediction Aghabullogue

Glanworth v Glanmire - prediction Glanworth

St Vincent’s v Dromtarriffe - prediction St Vincent’s

Boherbue v Ballinora - prediction Boherbue

Adrigole v Gabriel Rangers - prediction Gabriel Rangers

Premier Junior

Cullen v St Nick’s - prediction St Nick’s

Urhan v Ballydesmond - prediction Ballydesmond.

St Michaels v St Finbarr’s - prediction St Finbarrs

Cobh v Buttevant - prediction Buttevant

Kilmurry v Kinsale - prediction Kilmurry

St James v Millstreet - prediction St James.

Other ties

Two games to keep an eye on, Wednesday next in the semi-final of Divisional/Colleges section of the Hurling Championship, it’s UCC v Avondhu in Mourneabbey.

Then on Thursday, Páirc Uí Rinn is the venue for football semi-final with Carbery v Duhallow, both games are at 7.30pm.

SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship

This actually kicked off last weekend when divisional sides Carbery - who had Libby Coppinger on duty - got the better of Avondhu.

On Friday it’s Enniskeane v Aghabullogue at 7.30pm, then on Saturday there are two games. At 2.30pm it’s Sarsfields v Courcey Rovers while at 5.30pm it’s old rivals Glen Rovers v St Finbarr’s. All these games are on ar Castle Road.

Castle Road is also the venue on Monday night at 7.15pm for the meeting of Inniscarra v Ballygarvan, while on Wednesday the action switches to Cloughduv again at 7.15pm, it’s Éire Óg v Newcestown.

Plenty of Cork’s winning All-Ireland team in action in these games which all have the makings of some interesting clashes.

Sean Lucey RIP

Sean’s passing in the last few days was greeted with sadness by the GAA fraternity in the county, particularly in his beloved Mayfield a club he served with great distinction over many years and continued to serve in administration and coaching when he playing days ended.

Sean was an outstanding hurler and played with many a great Seandun team when they were competitive in the county championship.

Off the field he was an absolute gentleman that I was privileged to know, sincere sympathy to his family and his colleagues in Mayfield GAA.

Ar dheis Dé ar a anam dhilis.