GROUP 4 of the Bon Secours county senior A football championship is laced with all sorts of possibilities going into the concluding round of games on Sunday.
All four clubs, Bandon, Fermoy, Clyda Rovers and Dohenys are in contention for the two knock-out places on offer.
And, yet, only Bandon are the lone side free of the threat of a relegation play-off, which will be determined by the two teams with the worst records finishing last in the three groups.
Bandon are on three points, one more than Fermoy and Clyda with Dohenys propping up the table on one point but with everything to play for still.
Bandon, who boast the best defensive record in the three groups, and Fermoy square up in Glanmire with the Inniscarra housing the Dohenys-Clyda tie. All games have a 4pm throw-in time.
The last round of games reflected just how tight and unpredictable this group is as west Cork rivals Bandon and Dohenys drew 0-12 apiece and Clyda stunned Fermoy with a couple of late Martin Brennan goals in a 2-7 to 2-6 victory.
Mark Sugrue is Bandon’s main scoring threat against a Fermoy side, who must have kicked themselves for blowing such an advantageous position with time running out.
Clyda’s confidence rose significantly by contrast and they go into their match with Dohenys firmly believing they can extend their season to the knock-out phase.
The Dunmanway club will have no fear either, particularly if they can get enough ball into Mark Buckley and Fionn Herlihy inside.
There’s precious little between any of the four teams and who knows how it’s going to pan out?
What we can say definitively is that O’Donovan Rossa and St Michael’s will emerge from Group 1 because that was confirmed after round 2.
Yet their meeting in Enniskeane carries a lot of significance as the winner heads for the semi-finals, forcing the losers to the quarter-finals.
It promises to be a thrilling encounter between the two highest scoring teams with the Skibbereen club edging it, 4-39 to the Mahon club’s 5-31.
Former Cork forward, Donal Óg Hodnett, has been in magnificent for Skibb, claiming 2-5, while Kevin Davis, who missed the last game against Ballingeary, and David Shannon are other important sources of scores, 1-6 and 0-9 respectively.
Eoghan Buckley has 1-7 for Michael’s, who have a widespread of scorers and are not overly reliant on any one individual.
There are several other influential figures on both sides who have everything to play despite being assured of advancing.
The other game between St Nick’s and Ballingeary is an opportunity for redemption for either side, who’ve yet to win to-date.
The city club are last in the table because of a vastly inferior scoring record and yet history has shown there’s always one big game in Nick’s. Is this the one?
The situation is quite simple. Which ever side ends up losing will have to play in the relegation play-off to decide who’ll be playing premier intermediate in 2021.
Ben Shorten and Diarmuid MacThomais are finishers capable of causing grief for the city defence.
Group 2 is also finely balanced though there’s more pressure on Bantry Blues, who are pointless and propping up the table.
But, the two clubs in front of them, Mallow and Eire Og are on two points apiece with Kiskeam leading the way following a maximum return from their two outings.
Bantry have to defeat Mallow in Macroom, otherwise they’ll be supplying one half of the relegation decider.
Cork star Ruairi Deane is a major player for Bantry, whose defence faces a number of threats from the likes of Cian O’Riordan, Kevin Sheehan and Michael O’Rourke.
His county colleagues, James Loughrey and Mattie Taylor, also indicate the degree of difficulty confronting the Blues.
Eire Og must inflict a first defeat on Kiskeam and they’ll be looking for a big improvement from the Mallow defeat.
On paper the Ovens club looks the part, but they must deliver against a well-organised Kiskeam.
SUNDAY: SAFC Group 1: O’Donovan Rossa v St Michael’s, Enniskeane; St Nick’s v Ballingeary, Carrigadrohid.
Group 2: Kiskeam v Éire Óg, Glantane; Mallow v Bantry Blues, Macroom.
Group 3: Dohenys v Clyda Rovers, Inniscarra; Fermoy v Bandon, Glanmire. All 4pm.