A disappointing weekend for Gaelic football on Cork's northside...

A disappointing weekend for Gaelic football on Cork's northside...

Kevin Davis of O'Donovan Rossa pulls away from Alan Hosford of St Nicholas during the Cork Senior Football Championship match in Brinny. Picture: Howard Crowdy

IT would be some exaggeration to claim a pall of gloom still hangs over parts of the northside of the city following the relegation suffered by both St Nick’s and Mayfield at the weekend.

Certainly, in the former’s case, some crocodile tears were shed because as we all know Glen Rovers is the only concern in hurling mad Blackpool.

It came as little surprise that Nick’s dropped down to premier intermediate next season after Bantry Blues inflicted a heavy defeat in the relegation play-off.

What was notable, though, was the one-sided game on the back of St Nick’s best display of the season in going down by just two points to Ballingeary, who survived on a 1-15 to 1-13 scoreline.

The city club had eight different scorers in that game, but the team which lined out against Bantry showed over half-a-dozen changes and was considerably weakened by the absence of the Glen hurlers.

They’ve more pressing matters in the form of a county semi-final against Erin’s Own this weekend coming and that takes precedent over everything.

It’s always been thus and will remain the same for future generations with the football aspect suffering as a consequence.

St Nick’s will operate in the third tier of the championship next season, where there is stiff competition because three of the last four still standing, Cill na Martra, Knocknagree, Kanturk and Newmarket, will be around, among others, as well.

Mayfield, too, is considered more hurling than football though not as much because they have a long history in the big ball game, too.

Now, though, it’s back to playing junior football in the city division next season after losing out to Glanmire in the intermediate A relegation play-off.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom north of the Lee, however, because Na Piarsaigh salvaged their season by overcoming Gabriel Rangers in the premier intermediate relegation decider.

Like their fierce rivals in the Glen, hurling is the main preserve with Piarsaighs, though there is still some gra for football in the club.

It’s only last week that we were celebrating Cork’s memorable victory over Meath in the 1990 All-Ireland to complete the historic double.

Bishopstown prided themselves in supplying two players, Barry Coffey and Paul McGrath, a pair who contributed handsomely to the victory as well as being influential en route, too.

But, the club on the western outskirts of the city faces a rebuilding project after losing their senior status to Ilen Rovers in the premier senior relegation play-off.

Bishopstown joined the top ranks in 1975, but will now find themselves in tier 2 in senior A next season.

This is a highly competitive championship with O’Donovan Rossa the favourites to win promotion, but their next opponents Eire Og flexed their muscles with their extraordinary 3-12 to 0-4 quarter-final win over St Michael’s.

The other semi-final is between Fermoy and Mallow, again further evidence of the quality of teams contesting the championship.

How many gave Duhallow any chance of reeling in a three-point deficit coming down the stretch against Valley Rovers in the only premier senior quarter-final played at the weekend?

Not only were they trailing, but last season’s finalists looked out on their feet as the Innishannon club paid a heavy price for coughing up two glorious goal-scoring opportunities in either half.

But, from somewhere the north-west representatives found extra reserves of energy and will to outscore their opponents 0-5 to 0-1 in a hectic finish.

It was all the more praiseworthy when you consider 11 of the starting team had already played with their clubs the day before. Knocknagree had six in the starting 15, Millstreet a couple more while Kanturk, Rockchapel and Boherbue were also represented.

Manager Padraig Kearns plucked three more from the bench, including a seventh Knocknagree player, to get the job done.

Duhallow and Castlehaven await their semi-final opponents after the Nemo Rangers-Ballincollig and St Finbarr’s-Newcestown games were postponed because of Covid-19.

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