FOR the second season in a row, Bantry Blues footballers find themselves engulfed by relegation worries.
On Saturday in Newcestown, Bantry take on Bishopstown in the Senior A football championship relegation play-off (2pm throw-in), with the winner retaining their status while the loser will slip through the trapdoor to the premier intermediate ranks.
Bantry were in the same precarious position last season, but survived after they thumped St Nick’s by 3-15 to 0-2 in the relegation play-off. (Nick’s are still on the slide and take on St Vincent’s in the Premier IFC relegation play-off this Saturday).
Both Bantry and Bishopstown find themselves in this predicament after both lost their three group games to finish as the bottom two teams in the Senior A FC. In Group C Bantry lost 0-15 to 1-7 against Clyda, then went down 0-11 to 0-7 against Fermoy before Mallow added to their woes with a 3-6 to 1-11 win, but the Blues went down fighting in that last game. Arthur Coakley leads the scoring charts for Bantry in this championship and has scored 0-14 (five frees) in three games while Cork senior Ruairi Deane chipped in with five points against Mallow last time out.
Meanwhile, Bishopstown are facing the prospect of successive relegations after they relinquished their Premier senior status last year (losing the relegation play-off to Ilen Rovers). In Group B of this season’s SAFC the city men lost to St Michael’s, Knocknagree and Kiskeam and have averaged 0-9 per game.