BY KIERAN McCARTHY
A FAMILIAR foe stands in Kilmacabea’s direct route back to the South West junior A football championship final.
Last year’s beaten finalists, who lost to eventual county champions Bandon, have been drawn against 2013 kingpins St Colum’s in the big first round tie in the 2016 South West JAFC.
Kilmacabea will look to reverse their recent championship results against Colum’s, as the Saints beat the Leap men in a 2013 quarter-final (1-12 to 0-6) and in a 2014 round four tie (0-13 to 1-7).
When the teams clashed in last year’s Carbery-Beara Division 1 Football League final in October, Kilmacabea won 0-11 to 0-8.
‘It’s a tough draw but a good one – it’s the standout tie in the first round,’ Kilmacabea boss Kevin O'Donovan told The Southern Star.
‘We know only too well how good St Colum’s are because, I think, this will be our seventh or eighth game against them in the last few seasons.
‘They beat us in the championship in 2013 and 2014, we beat them in the league final last year, and there have been other league games as well. We know each other pretty well and it’s a game to focus the mind.
‘If you look at last year’s first round, Bandon, who went on to beat us in the final by five points, only beat St Colum’s by one point so that alone shows you how good Colum’s are. It’s never easy to play Colum’s, whether it’s the first round or a final.’
Kilmacabea are keen to go one step further than last year – when they reached the South West JAFC final for the very first time – but they will have to do so without Joe Collins (in America) and Colman O’Riordan (in New Zealand), while John O’Sullivan is concentrating on his studies at the moment.
In total, 18 teams will contest the 2016 South West JAFC with two to be relegated to the B grade for 2017. As usual, there is a back-door so it’s not straight knock-out until later in the competition.
There are two preliminary round ties with Dohenys, up from the B grade as champions, taking on a dangerous Gabriel Rangers, who lost a quarter-final to eventual winners Bandon last season.
The other tie sees 2014 champions St Mary’s take on Ilen Rovers. When these teams clashed in a round three game last season, Mary’s thrashed Ilen 0-18 to 1-2, so revenge will be on Rovers’ minds.
Semi-finalists last season, Castlehaven will take on a Ballinascarthy team that was involved in a relegation battle last term, while O’Donovan Rossa and Carbery Rangers is a meeting of two teams that fell at the round three hurdle last season.
Kilmeen, up from the B grade, await the loser of the Ilen v St Mary’s tie.
Plunkett’s will look to put last season’s struggles behind them when they take on Clann na nGael in round one – the Scorchers lost a quarter-final to Mary’s in 2015.
Diarmuid Ó Mathunas await the loser of the Dohenys v Gabriel Rangers preliminary round tussle, while Tadhg MacCarthaigh – powered by the three O’Driscoll brothers for Cork – will look to be a force this season. They lost by a point to Kilmacabea in round three last season.
Muintir Bhaire, quarter-finalists last year, have been paired against Barryroe this time out.
The draws for the South West junior B and C football championships was not made on Monday night in Dunmanway as there is still a grading issue to be sorted out concerning Clonakilty. These draws are expected to take place at the next board meeting.
Also, the South West hurling championship draws are waiting on developments at county level – regarding a possible county-wide junior hurling championship.
2016 SW JAFC draw
Dohenys v Gabriel Rangers
Ilen Rovers v St Mary’s
1. Ballinascarthy v Castlehaven
2. O’Donovan Rossa v Carbery Rangers
3. Kilmeen v loser of Ilen Rovers/St Mary’s
4. Clann na nGael v St Oliver Plunkett’s
5. Loser of Dohenys/Gabriel Rangers v Diarmuid Ó Mathunas
6. St Colum’s v Kilmacabea
7. Tadhg MacCarthaigh v St James
8. Barryroe v Muintir Bhaire
Round 2 (losers’ round)
Loser of 5 v loser of 1
Loser of 4 v loser of 7
Loser of 2 v loser of 3
Loser of 6 v loser of 8