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Cork and Galway do battle

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019 4:42pm

Cork vs Galway
When these sides met in the opening game of the season, Galway departed Mallow that afternoon with the two points in the bag and they have maintained that form throughout the campaign.

Sinead Burke, Olivia Divilly, Megan Glynn, Louise Ward and Roisin Leonard are key players for a Galway side that will relish this challenge.

Cork’s league campaign did not get off to the best start and as well as the Galway loss they also suffered a rare defeat to Tipperary. However they bounced back in impressive fashion.

To that end, two wins over reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin, especially the manner of the semi-final win after extra-time, will have come as a huge boost, more or less a statement of intent that this Cork team have not gone away.

There’s a nice blend of youth and experience in the side with the O’Sullivan sisters as ever leading from the front, add in prolific scorer Orla Finn along with Hannah Looney, Libby Coppinger, Ashling Hutchings and Aine Terry O’Sullivan and it’s an indication of the intent within the squad to collect the league title.

Galway will test them and will take confidence from the win in Mallow, but that’s in the past and Cork have been down this path before and get the nod to win.

The game will be broadcast live on C103.

There are a number of interesting pairings, not least the clash of the last two junior champions with Cloughduv meeting St Catherine’s.

This is Cloughduv’s first outing at this level but they retain many of the side that also brought them Munster success and that, coupled with the momentum they have, might see them shade this one especially if Ger Aherne, Joe Ryan, Brian Verling, Eoghan Clifford and Donal Corkery play to their potential.

Ovens hosts a double header on Saturday with Aghabullogue and Ballinhassig opening proceedings and anything other than a win for the mid-Cork side would constitute a huge surprise given that it’s Ballinahssig’s second team.

The second game is that bit harder to call as both Dripsey and Ballygarvan have not exactly been hitting the heights of late, but a nod to Ballygarvan.

Kildorrery and Tracton meet in Blarney and the odds favour a Kildorrery win as Tracton have been struggling of late, and if Peter O’Brien hits the heights he is capable of, he will be difficult to contain.

Grenagh take on Na Piarsaigh’s second team, also in Blarney, and while the Muskerry side should win, the Farranree club are on a roll right now and could maintain that winning run.

The second teams of St Finbarr’s and Douglas meet in Páirc Uí Rinn with the latter fancied to win.

Meelin should edge their clash with Midleton, while Milford will be expected to overcome the challenge of Ballymartle.

Mayfield and Sarsfields is a local derby that Mayfield will be favoured to win, but there’s a lot of talent in the Sars' ranks, and having only used 15 in their senior win over Kanturk, they could make it difficult for their near neighbours.

Just one game down for decision and it’s an intriguing East Cork derby between Aghada and Cloyne in Castlemarytr. Aghada’s league form has been mixed, and with Cloyne still getting the maximum out of seasoned campaigners Donal Óg Cusack and Diarmuid O’Sullivan and with the class of Paudie O’Sullivan, they look good enough to win.

There are two games in the senior grade to complete the first round in both the clubs and divisional section.

Ballincollig finally make their appearance in the championship having received a bye into this round and they face an O’Donovan Rossa side that have the benefit of a first round victory over Carrigaline.

John Miskella has called time on a remarkable career but they can still call on an experienced group of players including Paddy Kelly, Noel Galvin, Cian Dorgan and Cian Kiely, and despite the long wait for a championship outing, they can overcome that obstacle and record a win.

By contrast both UCC and Seandún have seen action already with wins over Beara and CIT respectively when they meet in Bishopstown on Monday. Both sides will have had limited preparation, and depending on what team the college can field, they should have enough quality in their ranks to see off the city side.

The remaining game in the intermediate championship should see Knocknagree, with John Fintan Daly, Matthew Dilworth and Eoghan McSweeney enjoying an unbeaten season to date, account for Youghal who by contrast are finding victories hard to come by.

Páirc Uí Rinn is the venue on Tuesday for the opening game for both of these counties in this year’s minor football championship.

There is a new format this year and already the other four counties have played off in a round-robin format at the end of which Clare and Tipperary are contesting the final - also on next Tuesday night.

Both Cork and Kerry are guaranteed extra games, and for Cork that is a plus given that they have suffered in recent years when losing to Kerry at the semi-final stage and not been afforded the opportunity to develop the undoubted potential in those teams.

On the evidence of the colleges' competitions this year, Kerry the dominant team in this grade will start as favourites, but Cork have prepared very well and with home advantage might just spring a surprise.

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