Conor Lehane is an injury doubt this weekend for Midleton. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Knock-out or be knocked out this weekend

The pairings for the knockout phase of the Co-Op Superstores Hurling Championships will be determined across all 5 grades this weekend, and while we know several clubs are already in that phase, for others it’s going to be a nerve jangling weekend.

Of course the opposite applies to some clubs, and unless they have a relegation play-off, which no one wants, the camans can be put away until 2024 as their season will be at an end, not really ideal at the start of September.

Is there an alternative right now with the split season? I do not see one, but it cannot be good for a club to have your main team, with no more serious hurling to be played and of course others will join them come 5.30pm on Sunday.

Premier Senior

All games are at 4pm on Sunday.

Group A

Glen Rovers v Bishopstown in Páirc Uí Rinn, Midleton v Blackrock in Carrigtwohill

This group is done and dusted with the ‘Rockies and Midleton already qualified and the winner of their game will be contenders for the one semi-final spot on offer.

Conor Lehane is a doubt for Midleton and they might not risk him given that they have the job done; equally Alan Connolly might be held in reserve as he nurses his way back - slight fancy for Blackrock to win.

The other game is a repeat of the last two years - the Glen won both, and despite their poor showing in their previous outings, they should win this one, and in the process send Bishopstown who have shipped heavy scores in their two games into a relegation battle.

Group B

Erin’s Own v Fr O’Neill’s in Cloyne, Charleville v Douglas in Mourne Abbey

Plenty to play for here, with Douglas the only side already qualified and also chasing a semi-final spot and they have impressed in their games to date and might have Eoin Cadogan available.

By contrast, Darragh Fitzgibbon is still an injury concern for the North Cork lads and if he is ruled out, they will find it difficult, and that might title the tie the way of the city lads.

The other game is equally hard to call and with the local derby factor in the mix only adds to the intrigue, and as we have found out in the past, it would be foolish to write off Erin’s Own. Word is Robbie O’Flynn could play and that would be a huge boost, O’Neill’s though have a lot of firepower and were a bit unlucky in their two games to date and might just shade it.

Group C

St Finbarr’s v Kanturk in Fermoy, Newtownshandrum v Sarsfields in Mallow.

Another intriguing group with all 4 in contention, but Sars with their demolition of the champions in the last round sent out a clear signal that they might, just might be the team to beat. Newtown are a hard nut to crack but might find this one just beyond them.

The ‘Barr’s were very disappointed with their showing against Sars and will look for a huge improvement if they harbour any hope of retaining their title. Padraig Buggy should return and that will boost their attack, but they will need Ben Cunningham and Brian Hayes among others to deliver again. Kanturk are on a roll still in contention in both championships and with a week’s break, will be eager to maintain their winning momentum, and also hope that Aidan Walsh is fit to play, for all that though you would expect the ‘Barr’s to win.

So when the dust settles, it’s Blackrock to get the SF spot, Imokilly after just one game played to be joined in the QFs by Douglas, Midleton, St Finbarr’s, Sars and Fr O’Neill’s to complete the lineup.

Senior A

All games are on 6.30pm on Saturday.

Group A

Na Piarsaigh v Killeagh in Cobh, Bride Rovers v Inniscarra in Riverstown

The key game here is in Cobh where a draw will do Killeagh to progress and in the process confine Na Piarsaigh to another season outside the top grade; that said they looked lively in their win over Inniscarra and if they can reproduce that form, they are well capable of winning.

Bride Rovers cannot be overtaken as group winners and should make it 3 from 3 and in the process seal a semi-final spot.

Group B

Newcestown v Courcey Rovers in Brinny, Blarney v Ballyea in Mourneabbbey

Similar story here Newcestown already safely through and one foot into the semi-final which they will guarantee if they beat Courcey Rovers who are already out of contention but will be keen to avoid the relegation play-off.

The clash in Mourneabbey should be lively where a draw will do Blarney, Shane Barrett and Padraig Power will key here and is there a chance that Mark Coleman might make an appearance.

Group C

Fermoy v Carrigtwohill in Watergrasshill, Cloyne v Mallow in Grenagh

A bit more complications in this group but Carrigtowhill control their own destiny. They can even afford an 8 point loss and still progress, but they are playing well and should win, but Fermoy with a lot to play for will test them.

Mallow are still to win a game but can by the vagaries of the format progress if they win and certain factors fall their way in the other game, but Cloyne showed they are not done and could edge into the QF by winning this game.

So, Bride Rovers and Newcestown for the last four, with Na Piarsaigh, Blarney, Carrigtowhill and Cloyne into the QFs.

Premier Intermediate

All games are at 2pm on Sunday.

Group A

Castlelyons v Ballincollig in Mallow, Bandon v Dungourney in Cloughduv

Given they have won both their games comfortably, Castlelyons are almost assured of one of the semi-final spots. Different story for Ballincollig - their surprise loss to Dungourney means even a win here might not be good enough as the East Cork side would be fancied to beat Bandon who are fighting for survival, but the odds favour an Imokilly double in this group.

Group B

Carrigaline v Valley Rovers in Ballygarvan, Ballymartle v Éire Óg in Ballyanly

This is another of those groups where all four can still qualify even pointless Carrigaline if they win the local derby with Valleys by 5 points, and Éire Óg beat the 3rd Carrigdhoun club in the group they would progress.

Small margins in all the games to date, but a fancy for Valleys and Éire Óg to advance.

Group C

Castlemarytr v Watergrasshill in Lisgoold, Ballinhassig v Kilworth in Rathcormac

As it stands, Ballinhassig and Castlemarytr occupy top spots and draws in their games would see that unchanged and remember Watergrasshill have drawn their last 5 group games, spanning this season and last year, so that’s a real possibility.

Castlemarytr are worried about the fitness of Ciaran Joyce among others and that won’t help their cause, while Ballinhassig should just get the better of Kilworth who have shown in the past that they are well capable of upsetting the odds.

Bit harder to predict the semi-finalist here; Castlelyons should get one with possibly Ballinhassig nicking the 2nd and Éire Óg, Valley Rovers, Dungourney and Castlemartyr completing the line up for the quarter-finals.

Intermediate A

All games are at 2pm on Saturday.

Group A

Aghabullogue v Lisgoold in Caherlag, Aghada v Youghal in Aghavine (Fr O’Neill’s ground)

Aghabullogue and Lisgoold are level at the top on 3 points, so if the winners will top the group. If it’s a draw irrespective of what happens in the other game, they will both progress.

Group B

Mayfield v Sars in Carraig Na bhFear, Blackrock v Kildorrery in Glantane

Mayfield and Blackrock are in pole position here, so the onus is on Sars and Kildorrery to try and alter the shape of the group. Sars could upset the odds however Mayfield are proving very hard to beat and a draw will do them, but the ‘Rockies should have too much for the North Cork side.

Group C

Midleton v Ballygiblin in Ballynoe, Douglas v Cloughduv in Ballincollig

The winners of the game in Ballynoe will get the top spot, while you would expect Cloughduv to overcome Douglas and in the process avoid the relegation play-off.

Semi-finalists: Ballygiblin and Aghabullogue, quarter-final spots for Lisgoold, Mayfield, Blackrock and Midleton.

Premier Junior

All games are on at 6.30pm on Friday.

Group A

Glen Rovers v Argideen Rangers in Ballincollig, Erin’s Own v Tracton in Páirc Uí Rinn

Glen are in pole position here; a 3rd win would see then get the semi-final spot and they look good enough to do just that, while Erin’s Own boosted by the win over Argideen last time out should get the better of Tracton and in the process send last year’s runners-up into the relegation play-off.

Group B

Barryroe v Milford in Coachford, Ballygarvan v Kilbrittain in Brinny

Barryroe have secured top spot and look well placed to make it 3 from 3 against pointless Milford, a bit more at stake in Brinny where the winners will stay in the championship a draw will suffice for Kilbrittain.

Group C

St Catherine’s v Russell Rovers in Aghada, St Finbarr’s v Meelin in Doneraile

The only team that cannot qualify are the ‘Barr’s and if Meelin beat them, they will progress along with the winners of the other game the East Cork derby and here a draw will be good enough for St Catherine’s.

Glen Rovers and Barryroe for the semi-finals, with Meelin, St Catherine’s, Erin’s Own and Kilbrittain into the QFs.

All these predictions of course come with a health warning, best of luck to all clubs and as usual extensive coverage of all games across 96FM/C103 from Friday right through until Sunday where everyone will know where their season is going, or in some cases, not going!

Ladies Football

Time for the 2nd round games in the Senior Football Championship and already it is looking like Mourneabbey and Éire Óg are going to be the teams to beat if opening days results are any guide.

On Sunday, Éire Óg with home advantage against Kinsale with a 1pm start will be expected to win, while at 3pm St Vals will be at home to Inch Rovers, these are in Group 1.

While in Group 2, Rathcormac at 11am is the venue for the meeting of Bride Rovers and Mourneabbey, with Aghada welcoming Fermoy to Rostellan at 4.30pm.

SE Systems Senior Camogie Championship

There are several games again over the coming days with early indications that holders Seandun will be hard to dislodge.

On Friday in Castle Road at 6.30pm, it’s a must-win game for both Glen Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s who suffered first round defeats, while at 7pm in Ovens, it’s a Mid-Cork derby between Éire Óg and Aghabullogue.

There’s a 12 noon start on Saturday in Kilbrittain for Courcey Rovers v Enniskeane. There’s a 6pm throw-in for the meeting of Inniscarra and Newcestown in Coachford. Finally on Wednesday next at 6.45pm, Cloughduv will host the clash of Ballygarvan and Éire Óg. It is certainly going to be a hectic and exciting few days!