Busy weekend in county championships
Apart from Cork’s clash with Galway in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday (throw-in 3.30), it is a very busy weekend on the local scene with quite a number of games in various county championships.
There are five county senior football championship games down for decision over this weekend, starting with what should be a real cracker between Carbery Rangers and Ballincollig at Bandon on Friday evening.
SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Carbery Rangers v Ballincollig (Friday, 7pm, Bandon)
CARBERY Rangers finished two points to the good when these teams clashed in the fourth round last year.
The odds are that this will be another tight affair, and both sides will be going in on the back of impressive first round wins, with Ballincollig thrashing Ilen Rovers to the tune of 13 points, and Carbery Rangers having seven to spare over Clonakilty. Pa Kelly is a key player for Ballincollig, while John Hayes and James Fitzpatrick are numbered among the leading light for the Rosscarbery side. Verdict: Carbery Rangers
Nemo Rangers v St Finbarr’s (Saturday, 7pm, Páirc Uí Rinn)
THE last time Nemo Rangers lost a first round game, they went on to lift the county title in 2006. In smoothly dispatching Na Piarsaigh last time out, they have again got their aspirations back on track after losing their opening test against Bishopstown in extra-time. The Barrs were convincing winners over last year’s premier intermediate kingpins Newmarket, and they can be relied upon to make a bold bid to avenge their narrow defeat in the 2010 decider. Verdict: Nemo Rangers
Ilen Rovers v Avondhu (Saturday, 7pm, Macroom)
AVONDHU reached the county semi-final last year, accounting for defending champions Nemo along the way, and they were a little unlucky to bow out to 2011 title winners UCC.
With Cork stars Paudie Kissane, Colm O’Neill and Ray Carey on board, they have motoring smoothly again this year, while Ilen Rovers were well beaten by Ballincollig and Dohenys before getting over Na Piarsaigh in the third round. Verdict: Avondhu
O’Donovan Rossa v Aghada (Saturday, 7pm, Brinny)
IN the absence of their top player Pearse O’Neill through injury, Aghada struggled early on in the campaign, registering their first win from three outings at the expense of St Nicholas. O’Neill’s return will be a big boost, but O’Donovan Rossa made a very positive start against Dohenys, and, if such key forwards as Conor McCarthy and Donal Óg Hodnett play to form, they will be hard to stop. Verdict: O’Donovan Rossa
Dohenys v Duhallow (Sunday, 7pm, Coachford)
DOHENYS recovered from a first round defeat by O’Donovan Rossa to turn in a convincing display against Ilen Rovers. But they could have their work cut out to see off a Duhallow side that has already claimed the scalps of 2011 champions UCC and a highly-rated Carbery outfit. Verdict: Duhallow
SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Erins Own v Killeagh (Saturday, 6.30pm, Midleton)
A MOUTH-WATERING East Cork derby, but Killeagh, in pushing Newtownshandrum all the way in the first round and scoring a decisive win over Cloyne next time, appear to be in slightly better shape than Erins Own. Verdict: Killeagh
PREMIER INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Valley Rovers v Kiskeam (Friday, 7pm, Ballyanley)
DEMOTED from senior last year, Valley Rovers showed they have the potential to make a quick return to the top flight with a comprehensive win over Glenville. Verdict: Valley Rovers
Carrigaline v Nemo Rangers (Sunday, 7pm, Coachford)
CARRIGALINE lost their opening game to Mallow, but then they had a good win over Ballinora, and they would be well capable of building on that. Nemo’s second string is always useful, and no doubt it will include several players who shared in the club’s county U21 triumph a few weeks ago. Verdict: Carrigaline
Naomh Aban v Ballingeary (Saturday, 6.30pm, Kilmichael)
THESE sides shared the spoils in a high-scoring thriller recently, and the likelihood is there won’t be a whole lot between them this time.
Seasoned campaigners Anthony Lynch and Micheal Ó Croinin remain two of the Ballyvourney side’s key players, while Cork senior panelist Liam Shorten could prove a trump card for Ballingeary in attack. Verdict: Ballingeary
PREMIER INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Ballinhassig v Ballyhea (Saturday, 6.30pm, Mallow)
BALLINHASSIG were forced to make the drop from senior last year, but they got back to winning ways in fine style against Mallow in the opening round.
They had to dig deep to edge out Newcestown after that, and they are likely to face another stern test from Ballyhea, who also have a narrow win over Newcestown to their credit. Verdict: Ballinhassig
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Cill na Martra v Aghabullogue (Friday, 7pm, Ballingeary)
THE indications are that, with both sides having reached the last 16 via the backdoor, this is going to be a very close affair. Verdict: Cill na Martra
INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Kilworth v Fermoy (Friday, 6.30pm, Ballygiblin)
KILWORTH have been rated as one the leaders contenders in this grade over the past few years, and they will be fancied to shade this North Cork derby clash with Fermoy. Verdict: Kilworth
Eire Óg v Fr O’Neill’s (Saturday, 6.30pm, Riverstown)
FR O’Neill’s were beaten by Bandon in last year’s final, while Eire Óg were ousted by Barryroe in the fourth round. But the men from Ovens were severely handicapped by the absence through injury of key players Ciarán Sheehan and Daniel Goulding in 2011, and they could go a long way now that Sheehan and Goulding are back in the fold. Verdict: Eire Óg
Ballygarvan v Charleville (Saturday, 4.45pm, Mallow)
CHARLEVILLE are hoping that the momentum accruing from last year’s county junior success will enable them to enjoy another lengthy campaign. But Ballygarvan, runners-up in 2010, have been competing well at this level for quite some time now, and their greater experience might prove decisive. Verdict: Ballygarvan
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