Premier SFC previews: Duhallow and the Barrs are favourites to progress

Premier SFC previews: Duhallow and the Barrs are favourites to progress

Eoghan McGreevey, St Finbarr's, takes the ball past Niall Quirke, Carrigaline. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE business end of the Bon Secours County Premier Senior Football Championship starts this Sunday but unfortunately, the clash of champions Nemo Rangers and Ballincollig set for Páirc Uí Rinn, one of three quarter-finals, has been postponed.

The Cork County Board explained on Twitter: “Following a CCC meeting this morning to consider the implications of the positive Covid-19 test in Ballincollig, @NemoRangersGAA vs @BallincolligGAA has been postponed until further notice. All other games this weekend will progress as scheduled.”

The winners of Ballincollig and Nemo were due to face either Duhallow or Valley Rovers in the PSFC semi-final on September 26. Castlehaven take on Newcestown or St Finbarr’s on the other side of the draw.

The delay to the Nemo-Collig game will reverberate through the championship and also tighten the window Cork manager Ronan McCarthy has to prepare for the Rebels’ Munster semi-final with Kerry on November 8. They’ve also two league games to fulfil in October, starting with Louth on October 17-18 where a win would seal promotion for Division 2 for 2021.

That still leaves two PSFC quarter-finals this Sunday. At Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4pm, the 2018 winners St Finbarr’s meet last year’s semi-finalists Newcestown.

Then it’s Páirc Uí Rinn for Duhallow-Valley Rovers later that evening at 7pm.

Paul O’Keeffe, the St Finbarr’s manager, also has selection issues after missing a number of prominent players in the most recent game against Clon.

They won by 1-17 to 1-13 despite not having dual players like Glenn O’Connor and Cian Walsh, and the injured Colm Barrett.

Their forward line looks strong, and while Steven Sherlock is in razor-sharp form, the Barrs are no longer overly reliant on his scoring prowess.

That said, anyone who can post 2-22 in three games has to be reckoned with, but youngsters Cillian Myers-Murray and Brian Hayes have added to the attack.

Captain Ian Maguire leads by example from midfield and behind him, Sam Ryan, Colin Lyons, and Olan Murphy bring a fine balance to the defence.

If there was a Club of the Year award handed over now, Newcestown would be worthy recipients.

Not only are they continuing last season’s exciting form, but the majority of players also line out with the hurlers, who are through to the senior A semi-finals.

They emerged from the West Cork ‘group of death’ by defeating Ilen Rovers by 3-17 to 1-7 and Carbery Rangers, the 2016 champions, by 2-12 to 2-9.

Newcestown lost no face in the 1-12 to 0-9 defeat to Castlehaven, who await the winners in the semi-final.

About a dozen players regularly start in both teams.

The Twomeys, O’Donovans, Keanes, and Meades fear no opponent and they’ll be bouncing around headquarters.

Duhallow will have an eye on tomorrow’s games involving their players from Knocknagree, Kanturk, Rockchapel and Millstreet. It’s far from ideal, but that’s the way for representative teams.

Their lone outing was an extra-time win over UCC, while Valleys defeated Douglas 1-14 to 3-5 and Bishopstown 0-12 to 1-8.

Bishopstown and Ilen Rovers meet in Clonakilty tomorrow at 2pm in the relegation play-off. Last weekend, Town avoided the drop in hurling.

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