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Mourneabbey's Laura Fitzgerald scores the winning point in the All-Ireland. Picture: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
Mourneabbey's Laura Fitzgerald scores the winning point in the All-Ireland. Picture: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
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Group stages are set for the Cork 2020 senior club ladies football championship

THE 2020 Cork Senior Ladies Football Club Championship draw was made and the format features three groups.

Group A will consist of Mourneabbey, West Cork, and Éire Óg; Group B has Bride Rovers, Kinsale, and St Val’s; while Group C contains Aghada, Inch Rovers, and Fermoy.

The top two in Group A will progress to the semi-finals, while third place in Group A will play the runners-up in Group B in a quarter-final.

The team that finishes first place in Group B will play first place in Group C in the other quarter-final.

The winners of these two quarter-finals will progress to the A semi-finals, while the rest will enter the senior B competition.

Only one game in the Senior Ladies Football Division 1 league had taken place in 2020 before all playing activity ceased due to Covid-19.

With so few games played, it is hard to gauge where teams may be headed in 2020 — but the championship standings from 2019 can give us an idea.

Mourneabbey will be favourites to top Group A. The reigning All-Ireland champions will be bidding for a seventh consecutive county title this year and it remains to be seen can anyone stop them.

They had nine points to spare over West Cork in last year’s county final and looked better than ever on their way to retaining the Munster and All-Ireland crowns.

West Cork are most definitely a firm second in the county’s rankings. The divisional side contested the last two senior county finals and came painstakingly close in 2018, bringing Mourneabbey to a replay, but their lack of preparation time seems to be their achilles heel time and time again.

Next in the chasing pack, based on last year’s results, are Éire Óg. They made it to the Division 1 league final last year, only to be heavily defeated by Mourneabbey.

They dished out a heavy beating of their own to St Val’s, their first victory over them in the senior championship, and ran West Cork close in the group stages before being well beaten by West Cork in the county semi-final.

Some work is still to be done if they are to move beyond the semi-final stages.

Moving onto Group B, Val’s will be hoping to put 2019 behind them.

Traditionally a top dog in the Cork senior championship, having contested five county finals in a row between 2013-2017, Val’s struggled to put any kind of form together last season, losing all of their group games before winning a quarter-final against Kinsale, and lost to Mourneabbey in the semi-finals.

However, if they have their full panel available to them this year, they surely won’t be far off another county final appearance.

Kinsale achieved promotion to the senior ranks in 2018, and made a good impression their first year at senior level — winning Senior B county honours — but failed to retain that title in 2019, eventually losing out to Bride Rovers in the final.

They have a wealth of talent, with the likes of Cork senior stars Orla Finn and Sadbh O’Leary spearheading their attack.

If they can add a bit more firepower to support Finn and O’Leary, they could push beyond the Senior B competition this season.

Bride Rovers are the reigning Senior B county champions. An experienced side, they have been operating at senior level for a few years now.

They lost out heavily to Éire Óg in the county quarter-final stages last season, but recovered well to win Senior B.

Group C consists of Aghada, Inch Rovers, and Fermoy. Rovers will be hoping to build on their intermediate wins of last season, and will fancy themselves to top this group.

Aghada seem to have a bit more work to do in order to make an impression at senior level.

They are proven winners, with a good mix of talent, so the potential is certainly there.

Fermoy have been operating at senior level for a quite some time now, but have struggled the last couple of seasons.

They had success in the Senior B championship, but it remains to be seen can they push on and be competitive in the A championship.