Premier SFC previews: Nemo and Barrs are expected to to progress

Premier SFC previews: Nemo and Barrs are expected to to progress

Nemo Rangers Barry O'Driscoll manages to pass the ball despite the attention from Brian Hartnett of Douglas#. Picture: Howard Crowdy

AT the time it seemed to be the correct course of action.

In their wisdom, Castlehaven sought out the number 1 ranking after the completion of the group phase of the Bon Secours county premier senior football championship.

They completed their task by whipping Ilen Rovers by 4-19 to 2-4 and surged past the defending champions Nemo Rangers and the 2018 Andy Scannell Cup winners St Finbarr’s in the scoring stakes.

Coming into the final round of games the Haven were third in that department, but whizzed by the city pair to grab the only semi-final spot on offer.

Avoiding the perils of a quarter-final was a logical enough approach, but circumstances outside their control have placed question marks now over their direct route to the last four.

By the time Mark Collins leads out his colleagues against the winners of the St Finbarr’s-Newcestown quarter-final at Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday evening, a month will have elapsed since their last competitive encounter.

It’s a stark contrast to their yet-to-be-identified opponents who square up at Pairc Ui Chaoimh next Wednesday.

Castlehaven's Conor O'Driscoll tackles Colm Dinneen of Newcestown in their recent PSFC clash. Picture: Denis Boyle.
Castlehaven's Conor O'Driscoll tackles Colm Dinneen of Newcestown in their recent PSFC clash. Picture: Denis Boyle.

The ‘Barr’s or Newcestown could argue that it’s a short turn around to play an important county semi-final, notably if the west Cork side advance.

They’re involved in another county semi-final in hurling on Sunday against Fr O’Neill’s and Newcestown could face the prospect of three serious championship games in a week.

And when you consider that most of the footballers also play hurling it makes their schedule all the more demanding.

Whatever the outcome it’s going to be a classic of one side, Castlehaven, being possibly under-cooked and their opponents overdone.

Time will tell which is the better approach.

Meanwhile, Nemo and Ballincollig attempt to play their postponed quarter-final at Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday evening at 7.30pm.

Duhallow await the winners in the semis at the same venue on Sunday week for a 2pm throw-in.

Covid-19 precautions forced the postponement of the Nemo-Collig tie last weekend and it’s fingers crossed that it goes ahead as planned on Sunday evening.

The delay will help in clearing up any niggling injuries in the rival camps.

Yet, by the time the ball is thrown conditions could have changed considerably since the warm, balmy days of the group stages to the cold, damp and possible wind.

Little has changed in the week apart from Nemo’s second string putting up a fine effort in a two-point defeat by Knocknagree in the premier intermediate championship.

Did any of their players impress manager Paul O’Donovan sufficiently to get a call up?

Nemo are the bookies’ favourites to retain their title with the Haven second in the betting.

The holders hardly broke sweat in cantering through Group 3 with comfortable enough wins over Valley Rovers by 3-8 to 1-9, Bishopstown by 2-17 to 0-6 and Douglas by 1-15 to 1-10.

O’Donovan is in the happy position of having stiff competition for a starting jersey, notably with Kevin Fulignati in defence and Conor Horgan up front.

Both would be considered regulars, but only managed cameo appearances against Douglas after recovering from injuries.

Kieran Histon and Barry Cripps were in the full-back line with Kevin O’Donovan and Stephen Cronin in front of them.

James McDermott brings a wealth of experience and know-how at midfield while Ronan Dalton led a formidable attack, including top scorer Luke Connolly and Paul Kerrigan.

Ballincollig had their struggles to emerge from Group 1 containing the ’Barr’s, Clonakilty and Carrigaline.

The village lost their opening game to the ’Barr’s by 1-13 to 0-10, but produced their best display of the campaign in the 2-17 to 1-10 win over Clon.

And while they clinched their quarter-final spot with a 2-8 to 0-11 victory over Carrigaline, the overall display disappointed.

Early goals from Dara Dorgan and Evan Cooke should have pointed to a more comfortable outing, but an injury to key player Pa Kelly clearly disrupted their progress.

The former Cork star is central to Ballincollig’s prospects of causing a shock as are the Kielys, Cian and Sean, Liam Jennings, Noel Galvin and Cian Dorgan, top scorer with 1-18.

All the signs point to a Nemo victory, which would set-up a final repeat from last season against Duhallow.

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