WE'RE treated to another four senior championship games over the next few days as three backdoor knockout ties take place in Castle Road on Saturday with the remaining Milford versus Ballygarvan game on Monday next.
Newcestown and Imokilly are first up at the early start of 12.30pm. Both sides had a tough opening round against Killeagh and Seandún respectively but both sets of management will feel that will have brought them on and this game is a close one to call.
Newcestown impressed in their opening half against Killeagh but in the second half the East Cork side pulled away primarily due to the frees that Newcestown gave away and it’s something they’ll need to be careful of. Ciara O’Sullivan impressed for the newly promoted senior side and when she runs down the middle she’s a danger.
She’ll need strong support on either side of her. Newcestown’s half-forward line didn’t see much action in that second 30 minutes and need to come searching for the ball if supply is scarce. I think the scoreline didn’t do Imokilly justice against Seandún in that the outfield battles were tough.
Seandún had a lot of marquee players, too many to handle. That won’t be as big an issue with Newcestown. Both sides seem evenly matched.
Sarsfields are possibly itching to get back out and vindicate themselves for their loss to Glen Rovers. They’ll no doubt try a few positional switches and maybe even personnel to get them back to winning ways.
They should advance against a young Cloughduv side who are rebuilding but who will always leave all they have on the pitch. They’ll fight hard but it’s hard to imagine the County champions losing this one.
Douglas and Ballincollig take to the pitch at 6.30pm. Without the services of Julia White, Katrina Mackey again scored all of Douglas’s 1-6 in their first-round defeat to St Finbarr's, 1-3 from frees, and it goes without saying that if she is held Ballincollig have a good chance.
Joy Leo is always a massive threat up front. She was surrounded every time she approached the ball against the Barrs but if she manages to get away at all she will score.
Jessica Kavanagh is as competent as ever between the posts and Ballincollig would not want to waste opportunities by dropping balls into her capable hands. Her puck-outs will also put Douglas on immediate attack.
Ballincollig received a heavy defeat to Inniscarra and they need to dig deeper to capitalise on the talent that they show on paper. Four points from play at senior level isn’t good enough and more will be expected on Saturday.
Milford and Ballygarvan line out on Monday. Milford are certainly in evolution stage as they endeavour to start rebuilding after the loss of the three Watsons and Elaine O’Riordan. Big names to lose in any team. They still have strong players in Sarah Sexton, Rebecca Finn, Eimear O’Gorman, Laura Stack and Ashling Thompson and their game against Eire Óg could have gone either way.
Their battle with Ballygarvan on Monday should be a tight affair albeit the experience of the remaining Milford contingent of that great era should count for a lot against a young Ballygarvan side. This Ballygarvan side however know how to win, with a minor B and two minor A titles to their credit.
Ballygarvan’s nine-point defeat to St Catherine's didn’t do the closeness of that tie justice. St Catherine's are a strong rounded side and Ballygarvan stood up to the challenge with just a point separating the sides the break. So, this is another game that could go to the wire.
These games are all knockout so expect more intensity as sides do their best to stay in contention. Four teams got a bye to the quarter-final.
The following will play on the weekend of August 22... Newcestown or Imokilly will play Courcey Rovers, Cloughduv or Sars take on Douglas or Ballincollig, Ballygarvan or Milford meet Killeagh and the Glen face Seandún.
SE Systems Senior Championship: Newcestown v Imokilly, Castle Road, 12.30pm; Cloughduv v Sarsfields, Castle Road, 3.30pm; Douglas v Ballincollig, Castle Road, 6.30pm.
SE Systems Senior Championship: Milford v Ballygarvan, Castle Road, 7pm.