Relishing a Cork hurling championship like no other ahead of a massive weekend

Relishing a Cork hurling championship like no other ahead of a massive weekend
Robert Downey, Glen Rovers, breaking past Jamie McCarthy, Carrigtwohill in their Premier SHC match at Cobh. Picture: Dan Linehan

CORK’S championship season hits a point this weekend some thought was simply out of reach.

Go back to April when the number of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases soared above 800 and who would have imagined any season at all, never mind it progressing to this extent?

And while the rate dropped significantly during the month, there was another spike in early May which posed more questions about sports participation right across the board.

Most of June and July, however, brought renewed hope and now we’re at the stage where the knock-out phase of the five county hurling championships is just around the corner.

And from Youghal in the east through to Barryroe in the south-west and up to Meelin and Charleville, as well many locations in between, excitement is mounting.

None more so than on the city’s north-side, where fierce rivals Glen Rovers and Na Piarsaigh meet at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.

Of course, the downside is that it’s behind closed doors, but that won’t detract from what’s sure to be a hotly contested affair.

They are two of the 60 clubs from premier senior to senior A, premier intermediate, intermediate A, and lower intermediate aiming to extend their seasons.

The five grades were divided into three groups of four teams with the top two progressing, 30 in all.

The premier senior is different to the rest because of UCC, the divisions/colleges section winners, who will be joined by two group winners and three runners-up in three quarter-finals.

Imokilly's Niall O'Leary clashes with UCC's Shane Conway. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Imokilly's Niall O'Leary clashes with UCC's Shane Conway. Picture: Howard Crowdy

The best group winner advances to the semi-final.

In the other four grades, though, it’s the leading two group winners who qualify for the semi-finals leaving the third section winner and the three runners-up in two quarter-finals.

For 19 clubs, however, it’s season over and there will be mixed views on that outcome.

Some will rub their foreheads and be glad for not being involved in dreaded relegation games, a fate that awaits the remaining 11.

In four grades, it’s the two teams with the worst records who’ll play-off, but it’s different in intermediate A.

Here, two teams will be relegated, hence the need for a round-robin series of matches between the three sides in last positions in their groups.

They will be replaced by the lower intermediate champions and the county junior A winners in 2021.

While the clubs have enjoyed some modicum of luck in being able to play, you’d wonder will the schools be as fortunate, starting with the Dr Harty Cup and Corn Uí Mhuirí in December.

Who knows what next week will bring never mind the middle of winter, but at least the youngsters have something to aim for at any rate.

The draws are: Corn Uí Mhuirí: 1. Mercy Mounthawk v St Francis College; 2. SP Rathmore bye; 3. PS Chorcha Dhuibhne v Hamilton High School; 4. DLS Macroom v St Flannan’s; 5. Coláiste Chriost Rí v Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig; 6. IS Killorglin v St Brendan’s, Killarney; 7. High School Clonmel v Clonakilty CC; 8. Tralee CBS bye.

The quarter-final draw is: 1 v 2, 3 v 4, 5 v 6, 7 v 8.

Dr Harty Cup: 1. Cashel CS v St Flannan’s; 2. St Francis College v Our Lady’s Templemore; 3. Causeway Comprehensive v DLS Waterford; 4. Ardscoil Ris v St Colman’s; 5. Blackwater CS v Thurles CBS; 6. Nenagh CBS v Midleton CBS, 7. Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG v CBC; 8. St Joseph’s Tulla bye.

The quarter-final draw is: 1 v 2, 3 v 4, 5 v 6, 7 v 8.

Frewen Cup: February 24, 2021: R1: IS Killorglin v Coláiste na Sceilge; HS Clonmel v Tralee CBS.

Quarter-finals: St Brendan’s v IS Killorglin or Coláiste na Sceilge; PS Chorcha Dhuibhne v Mercy Mounthawk; Hamilton High School v St Flannan’s; St Francis College v HS Clonmel or Tralee CBS.

Dean Ryan Cup: February 10, 2021: R1: Midleton CBS v Ardscoil Ris; Nenagh CBS v CBC; St Flannan’s v DLS Waterford.

Quarter-finals: St Francis College v Thurles CBS; Cashel CBS v St Colman’s; North Mon AG v St Flannan’s or DLS Waterford; Midleton CBS or Ardscoil Ris v Nenagh CBS or CBC.

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