NEIGHBOURS rather than rivals is perhaps the best way to describe the situation between Clonakilty and O’Donovan Rossa, but that doesn’t mean that Saturday afternoon’s SFC round 3 clash in Castlehaven (3pm) won’t be keenly contested.
Apart from a 2-15 to 0-10 win for Skibb in 2015, championship clashes between the West Cork neighbours have been thin on the ground in recent times, but the edge this weekend comes with the double benefits that a win brings. As well as passage through to the quarter-finals of this year’s championship, victory ensures a place in the new 12-team premier senior grade for 2020.
Both sides won in April, Skibb overcoming Carrigaline in the preliminary round before seeing off Ballincollig with an impressive performance, while Clon got the better of Newcestown. To that end, there is no real advantage in terms of freshness or rustiness and, to all intents and purposes, it is like starting again after pre-season.
‘The lay-off was difficult in one way,’ says Skibb manager Martin Bohane, ‘but the other side of it was that we were afforded down-time and lads were able go on holidays.
‘We picked things up again over the last six or eight weeks, it’s just the way it is and you get on with it. We played three league games before the deadline and a few challenge matches.
‘We wouldn’t have been hugely happy with the performance against Carrigaline but then we really turned up against Ballincollig, everybody was outstanding. We will need a repeat of that.’
Skibb are without injury victims Dónal Óg Hodnett and Dylan O’Donovan, while their opponents must plan without Seán McEvoy. Clon manager Colm Aherne has the nice problem of trying to blend Cork stars Mark and Seán White, Thomas Clancy and Liam O’Donovan back into the squad after time away with the county and hurling commitments.
‘If you win, that will help to gel the team, but obviously there are no guarantees of that,’ Aherne says.
‘There’s no form to speak of because it has been so long since either team has played, four months is nearly longer than the break you’d have between one year ending and the next one starting.
‘Playing premier senior next year isn’t something that has been spoken about within the team, it’s more of a consideration for committee members. All we’re focused on is Saturday and trying to get that win to get into the next round and keep the year going.’