DEFENDING champions Midleton will start the defence of their Premier 1 Minor Hurling crown with a home tie against Glen Rovers tonight.
The east Cork side are looking to make it three minor titles in-a-row, something that doesn’t happen too often, particularly in recent years.
Should they reach the final it will their fourth one in-a-row, which in itself would be a major achievement.
But the Magpies won’t be thinking about anything other than the Glen match as they know the famed northside club will be hell-bent on a little bit of revenge, as well as getting their own campaign off to a winning start.
They lost to Midleton in a top-class final last year
With 10 minutes to go there was only a point between the sides, when a penalty looked like it had ensured victory for Midleton. However the Glen hit back and on another day could easily have run out winners.
Both sides had quality players on display on the night and with a number still available to both squads it should serve up a great opener to this year’s championship.
Blackrock are home to Sarsfields and the Glanmire side are another that will be fancied. But the Rockies won’t be easy to beat, especially at home, and considering they are in the same group as Midleton and the Glen and with two sides at most to progress it’s impossible to call who will emerge.
In other games the Barrs are at home to Douglas and it is difficult to see anything other than a home win here. The Barrs won the U16 title last year and a lot of them should feature tonight.
The other Premier 1 tie sees Ibane Gaels welcome Ballincollig to Barryroe, a game the visitors will fancy their chances in.
Ballincollig lost out to the Barrs in a thrilling U16 final last year and along with the Togher outfit will be the two fancied to come out of this group.
In the Premier 2 hurling competition champions Kiltha Óg are away to Youghal, with the other games seeing St Colman’s home to Killeagh/Ita’s; Piarsaigh home to Kanturk and Valley Rovers v Newcestown.
In the Premier 2 championship Kiltha Óg begin the defence of their title away to Youghal. Like Midleton at premier one level Kiltha have been one of the top sides at premier two level and will one to watch again this year.
The other two sides in their group are St Colman’s and Killeagh/Ita’s, and with the derby element these are sure to be highly competitive encounters.
The other group sees Na Piarsaigh at home to Kanturk and Valley Rovers up against Newcestown.
Valleys beat Blarney in the U16 Premier 2 final last year and will be hoping the confidence gained from that will see them off to a winning start tonight.
Piarsaigh haven’t been the force they would like to be at minor level for a few years and will be aiming to get off to a good start tonight. Kanturk won the U16 Division One title last year and will be no pushovers, but home advantage might just swing it Piarsaigh’s way.
As well as the Premier grades there are games across all the regions in the minor championship tonight with derby ties like Mallow v Charleville; Castlelyons v Bride Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s v St Catherine’s sure to be eagerly anticipated.
Meanwhile Cork’s minor hurling championship quarter-final clash with Clare has been confirmed for Saturday, October 17, with venue and time to be confirmed. If they win they will be out on Saturday, October 31, against Limerick. The Munster final is scheduled for November 14-15.
The minor footballers semi-final clash with Kerry is scheduled for Saturday, November 7. The final is scheduled for November 14-15.
(7pm unless stated, first team at home)
Minor hurling championship, round one: Premier 1 Group 1: St Finbarr’s v Douglas; Ibane Gaels v Ballincollig. Group 2: Blackrock v Sarsfields; Midleton v Glen Rovers.
Minor hurling championship, round one: Premier 2 Group 1: Na Piarsaigh v Kanturk; Valley Rovers v Newcestown. Group 2: St Colman’s v Killeagh/Ita’s; Youghal v Kiltha Óg.
Mid Region Division 1A: Ballinora v Inniscarra. Blarney v Éire Óg.
Mid Region Division 1B: Ballgarvan v Carrigaline. Sliabh Rua v Tracton.
Mid Region Division 2A: Donoughmore v Grenagh. Kilshannig v Clyda.
North Region Division 1: Ballycastle Gaels v Shandrum. Fermoy v Killavullen. Mallow v Charleville.
North Region Division 2: Buttevant v Ballygiblin. Kilara Óg v Ballyhea. Millstreet v Newmarket. St Kevins v St Marks.
North Region Division 3: Dromtariffe v Kildorrery.
East Region Division 1: Erins Own v Cobh. St Colmcille’s v Bishopstown. Whitechurch v Lisgoold.
East Region Division 2: Castlelyons v Bride Rovers. Passage v Mayfield. Aghada v Watergrasshill. Fr O’Neill’s v St Catherine’s.
West Region Division 1: St Olans v Clonakilty, 7.30pm. Kilbrittain v Bandon, 7.30pm.
West Region Division 2: Fastnet Gaels v Cloughduv, 7.30pm. Sam Maguires v Courcey Rovers, 7.30pm.
West Region Division 3: Ahan Gaels v Kilbree, 7.30pm. Cill Mochomog v St Patrick’s, 7.30pm.