THE RCM Tarmacadam junior A hurling championship continues this weekend with three games down for decision, one in Round 2A for teams which won in the first round and two games in Round 2B for losing teams from Round 1.
Already safely through to the quarter-final/semi-final stage as winners are Kilbree and Diarmuid Ó Mathúna, while losing teams from Round 2A into the quarter-finals are St Oliver Plunkett’s, Dohenys and Newcestown.
St James’ v Kilbrittain
Sunday, Ballinascarthy, 3pm
St James’ were disappointed to lose the first round against Plunkett’s (2-12 to 2-6), as they had an unblemished record in the league and looked to be in good form. St James’ have maintained their unbeaten record in section 2 of the league, winning five from five, to top the table. They will look to James O’Sullivan, Kevin O’Brien, Mícheál McCarthy, James O’Driscoll, Aaron Hayes and Kieran O’Donovan to keep them in the championship.
Kilbrittain’s second team are also doing well in section 2 of the league, in second place with four wins from five. Unfortunately, they came up against a flying Kilbree side in Round 1 of the championship and suffered a heavy defeat. Seamus O’Brien did well at full forward, scoring a goal, while Sam Shorten hit six points. Also doing well were Dylan Twohig, Denis Ryan, Conor O’Donovan and Ryan Lombard.
Verdict: It’s hard to see beyond a win for the more experienced St James’ against a young Kilbrittain side.
Clonakilty v O’Donovan Rossa
Monday, Dunmanway, 8pm
Reigning champions Clonakilty, also league champions, are struggling badly this season having lost the first round of the championship to Ballinascarthy (1-10 to 0-8) and winning only one game in four league starts.
Injuries, Leaving Cert and missing Cork players have hampered their preparations and it remains to be seen how many of those players will be back in action for this game. They will depend on David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Pa O’Sullivan, Thomas Clancy, Eoin Ryan, Timmy Anglin, Sean McEvoy and Cian O’Donovan to rescue their season but will be still missing the injured Sean White.
O’Donovan Rossa actually had two outings in Round 1 against St Colum’s, drawing the first game, 0-16 each, but losing the replay with a depleted team, 1-10 to 0-7. Once again goalkeeper Alan Foley emerged as top scorer in that game from placed balls and the lack of penetration in attack has been an ongoing problem. They have lost their three league outings to date.
Flor Crowley, Kevin Cotter, Kevin Crowley, Colm Keohane, Shane Crowley Jnr, Rob Long and Hugh Leonard have plenty hurling under their belts and with the senior footballers out of the championship they have had time to prepare for this outing. They will quietly fancy their chances against an off-form Clon team.
Verdict: Clon to win, but they will have to show much greater commitment and form to win through.
Ballinascarthy v St Colum’s
Monday, Ballinacarriga, 8pm
The winner here may go directly into one semi-final while the loser will play a quarter-final game. Both teams are among the favourites to land the Flyer Nyhan Cup and will want to put down a marker here.
Ballinascarthy were delighted with their 1-10 to 1-8 victory over champions Clonakilty in Round 1, a win inspired by the form of Ricky O’Flynn at midfield. He got good support from top scorers Darragh Hennessy and Jeremy Ryan, goal-scorer Cathal Nyhan, Seamus McCarthy, Chris Ryan, Colin Crowley, Aidan O’Donovan and Eoin O’Brien. Their league form has been patchy, winning two games from four, and they are also going well in football this season.
St Colum’s were put to the pin of their collar to survive Round 1 against O’Donovan Rossa, being held to a draw first day out and having to depend on sub Sean O’Shea, as he hit five second-half points for a 1-10 to 0-7 replay victory.
They have been busy on the football field since then, which won’t help, and they will look for big performances from Carbery hurlers’ David O’Mahony and Sean O’Shea, as well as Dermot Cronin, who scored the only goal against Skibb, Gene McCarthy, goalkeeper Michael Cronin, full back Shane Cronin, Ben Murphy and Eddie O’Sullivan.
Verdict: Improving Bal get a hesitant nod.
SW JAFC Round 3
Gabriel Rangers v Castlehaven
Sunday, Aughaville, 3pm
Without doubt, Gabriels are the form team of the season so far. They top Division 1 of the league with five wins from seven games, having beating top sides, Kilmacabea and St Colum’s, along the way.
In the first round against Dohenys’ second string, they fielded for the first time in almost a quarter century without the evergreen Pat Nolan but he did come on as a sub. With the strong Stephen O’Mahony and Donal O’Sullivan dominating midfield, their forwards, superbly led again by the experienced Mark Cronin, Eddie Goggin and Sean Kelleher, showed fine form, with goalkeeper Darren O’Mahony, Cathal Newman, Liam Hegarty and Ger O’Callaghan looking very solid in defence.
Castlehaven’s second string did very well last season, reaching the semi-final but they were beaten in this season’s first round by an emerging Ballinascarthy by 0-13 to 1-7. Top player Daniel Hegarty poached the goal in that game with Eoin Dennehy kicking five points.
They got back into contention two weeks ago when they beat Dohenys’ second string in round two (losers’ group) but only by three points, 1-10 to 1-7. They had to fight back from a seven-point deficit in the first quarter of this game against a Doheny outfit that was reduced to 14 men early on. The Haven will look to Daniel Hegarty, Ronan Walsh, Liam Collins, Patrick Bohane, Alan Cahalane and Kieran Hegarty to lead them to a surprise win in this encounter. They are doing well in Division 2 of the league, winning three out of four.
Verdict: It would be a major surprise if Gabriels were to lose this one, especially in light of their fine form all season.