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Must win hurling games in Round 2

Wednesday, 5th August, 2020 4:14pm

The competitive season has only just got underway and for some clubs it could be over by the end of the second round of games.

Over in the sense that their championship ambitions could end if they suffer another defeat, in what has the makings of an intriguing series of games.

Premier Senior
Glen Rovers vs Carrigtwohill
St Finbarr's vs Na PIarsaigh

The most impressive winners over the weekend were without question Glen Rovers whose demolition of old rivals St Finbarr’s sent out a clear signal that they are once again genuine contenders.

One swallow never made a summer but even with 14 men, following Robert Downey’s very harsh dismissal, they drove for victory with power and purpose that the ‘Barr’s could not handle.

Heading into this weekend games they face Carrigtwohill who came very close to beating Na Piarsaigh.

The display by Mickey Da’s men will fill the East Cork side with confidence against a side that demolished them in last year’s semi-final.

Niall McCarthy’s introduction was a masterstroke, while Liam Gosnell, James Mulcahy, Liam O’Sullivan and Tomas Hogan all impressed.

That said if Glen play as confidently as they did last Saturday night, especially Simon Kennefick, Adam O’Donovan, Adam Lynch, Dave Noonan and David Dooling, it’s hard to see any result other than a Glen Rovers win which would guarantee them a place in the knock-out phase with a game to spare.

The meeting of St Finbarr’s and Na Piarsaigh has now taken on added significance, especially for what must be a shell-shocked ‘Barr’s outfit.

How will they respond, given their tradition and pride in the famed blue jersey, I expect a big performance. The management have a role to play in lifting the players, many of whom were well below par in the Pairc.

Glenn O’Connor, John Neville, Eoin Finn and Billy Hennessey will have a point to prove, and as the saying goes, ‘a wounded animal can be a dangerous one’.

Na Piarsaigh would have expected to defeat Carrigtwohill, and that they had to rely on a late Shane Forde point to salvage a draw, earning what could yet turn out to be an invaluable point in what looks like a tight group.

Christopher Joyce, Daire Connery and Evan Sheehan will look to improve on last week’s showing in an effort to keep the season alive.

Picking a winner in this one is hard, but unless there is a marked improvement from the ‘Barrs, the odds favour Na Piarsaigh.

Sarsfields vs Douglas
Midleton vs Ballyhea

In the opening half of their game against Midleton, Sars were struggling and finding it hard to cope with Conor Lehane who was in sparkling form. However, they were a different team on the turnaround - Daniel Kearney was excellent - and the wing forward James Sweeney really troubled the Midleton defence. As a consequence, the game swung in their favour.

Douglas will present a similar test in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday as they too had a difficult hour before eventually getting the better of a dogged Ballyhea side.

Alan Cadogan was in sparkling form, but Brian Turnbull picked up a knock that might keep him out of this eagerly awaited encounter.

Shane Kingston, Mark Harrington and Conor Kingston will once again be key players for the city side as they bid to deliver on their undoubted potential.

Who will benefit from the lush surface of the Páirc with both sides laced with quality players? A slight fancy for Sars.

Fermoy is the venue for the clash of Midleton and Ballyhea with a lot at stake, the latter are always competitive even if there is an over reliance on Pa O’Callaghan for scores.

Lehane will look to get a level of consistency into his game, Paul Haughney could return from injury, add in Sean O’Leary Hayes and Luke O’Farrell and you would expect Midleton to win, but it could be a tight affair.

Bishopstown vs Erin's Own
Newtownshandrum vs Blackrock

Bishopstown will be kicking themselves at losing a decent lead to Newtown, who to their credit, hit 11 points in a row to win a thriller. Now the ‘Town must pick up the pieces for this crucial clash, and to compound matters, they will have to do without Ken O’Halloran who got a straight red card late on.

Erin’s Own were well behind to Blackrock but showed commendable spirit to battle back, and just came up short, they will regret their poor first half showing.

Robbie O’Flynn, the Bowens, Shay and Alan, along with Maurice O’Carroll all played well and will look to build on their second half showing and that might just give them a slight edge.

In the immediate aftermath of their win over Erin’s Own, Blackrock boss Fergal Ryan quickly pointed out that “they (Newtown) turned us over and deservedly so last year and we know exactly what we are up against”.

The manner in which the North Cork side won their game against Bishopstown will give them huge confidence heading into this match, as will the win over Blackrock last year.

Tim O’Mahoney, Jamie Coughlan, Paul O’Sullivan and Conor Griffin all made important contributions against the ‘Town and they will look to deliver again.

Michael O’Halloran was an absentee for the ‘Rockie’s, but Tadgh Deasy, Alan Connolly, Ciaran Cormack and Jamie Ryan all did well. A repeat showing and a consistent 60 minutes might get them over the line and a measure of revenge for last season’s defeat.

Senior ‘A’

A couple of standout fixtures in this grade, not least the all East Cork clash of Bride Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s in Páirc Uí Rinn on Friday night.

Both were comfortable and impressive winners first time out and this has the makings of a real cracker. Declan Dalton, Billy Dunne, Mark O’Keeffe and Paudie McMahon will relish the challenge from their Divisional rivals, who will look to the Roche twins, Eoin and Brian, Daniel Dooley, William Finnegan and the lion hearted and classy defender Brian Murphy to steer them to a second victory.

Local derbies can be very hard to call, but the odds slightly favour O’Neill’s.

The meeting of Kanturk and Newcestown is equally intriguing and they have had good wins in football as well so the spirit is high in both camps.

Sean O’Donovan is a loss to Newcestown but this club has heart in abundance and they will put that behind them. But with Anthony Nash, the McLoughlins, John and Lorcán, and Aidan Walsh in top form, Kanturk should prevail.

Charleville looked impressive in seeing off Bandon and should have too much in hand for their North Cork neighbours Mallow, who need the win badly but might not get it.

Intermediate Grades

Carrigaline also had a great win over neighbours Courcey Rovers and will hope to maintain that winning vein against Aghada, who also had a local derby success over Youghal.

Dungourney got the better of Argideen Rangers and that will give them a nice boost ahead of their clash with Mayfield who were caught late on by Kildorrery.

Last year’s Junior champions, Russell Rovers, played out an exciting draw with Ballygarvan and Kilbrittain drew with neighbours Barryroe so a lot to play for when they meet on Sunday.

Aghabullogue racked up a big score in beating divisional rivals Cloughduv and will be favourites in their clash with Glen Rovers, who lost to Midleton. They will fancy their chances of making it two from two when they face Cloughduv.

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