THERE is a feast of minor hurling championship across the county on Wednesday night, with games in every region.
Unfortunately, numbers at games are still restricted, but that won’t lessen the intensity on the pitch, with some derby clashes with local bragging rights an added incentive for all.
In the mid-region, there will no love lost when Inniscarra host Blarney and the same can be said of Carrigaline versus Sliabh Rua and of Tracton against Ballygarvan.
Move to the north region and ties between Fermoy and Mallow have always been hotly contested over the years and East Lisgoold against Carrigtwohill could be mentioned in the same way.
At Premier 1 level, it’s a case of potentially securing your place in the semi-finals for some sides, whilst for others, there are must-win games if they are to stay in contention.
In the ‘group of death’, any clash between the Glen and the Rockies will always be one to catch the eye. The other game in that group is an East Cork tie between Midleton and Sarsfields.
For Blackrock and Midleton, they are must-win ties, if they are to stay in contention for the semi-finals. They both lost their opening ties and both will know that tonight doesn’t get any easier for them.
Midleton, the defending champions, were involved in a superb game with the Glen, the side they beat in the final last year. Anyone looking at the final scoreline of 2-20 to 1-18 might think the Glen had it relatively easy, but far from it.
This was a tight game all through and it was only when Luke Horgan scored a goal late on that they stretched their lead to take the points on offer.
With home advantage, they will be favourites to add a second win tonight against the Rockies, who lost out to Sars in the opening round.
Sars, along with the Magpies and the Glen, would be amongst the favourites for this title, but with only two to come out, one big side will be gone after the round-robin stage. The Glen can’t afford to take the Rockies lightly, as they will be hurt after their loss to Sars, but the northside outfit should emerge winners.
If Sars beat Midleton — and that’s easier said than done — then it would end the champions’ interest. Assuming the Glen win and Sars win, it would put them both through on four points each, with one round to go and leave Midleton and the Rockies with no points.
So if Midleton needed any extra incentive to win, then that will ensure they fight to the end against their near-neighbours.
In the other group, the clash of Ballincollig and the ’Barr’s is another huge game, with the winners virtually guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. Both had big wins in round one, with the Village enjoying a good victory over Ibane Gaels, whilst the ’Barr’s were far too strong for Douglas.
So, either Ballincollig or the ’Barr’s will have four points after tonight and the losers, along with Douglas or Ibane, will have two.
The last round sees the ’Barr’s taking on Ibane and the Village facing Douglas.
This will make this group tight right to the wire, but a win for the ’Barr’s or Ballincollig will put them in prime position. Neither will want to go into the final day needing a win and the pressure that adds.
At Premier 2 level, Kanturk should be too strong for Valley Rovers and Newcestown are favourites against Na Piarsaigh. The winners of St Colman’s and Kiltha Óg should go through, while Killeagh/Ita’s and Youghal will both be looking for their first win in this championship.
(7pm unless otherwise stated, first team at home)
Minor hurling championship, round one: Premier 1 Group 1: Ballincollig v St Finbarr’s; Douglas v Ibane Gaels. Group 2: Glen Rovers v Blackrock; Sarsfields v Midleton.
Minor hurling championship, round one: Premier 2 Group 1: Kanturk v Valley Rovers; Newcestown v Na Piarsaigh. Group 2: Killeagh/Ita’s v Youghal; Kiltha Óg v St Colmans.
Mid Region Division 1A: Éire Óg v Ballinora; Inniscarra v Blarney.
Mid Region Division 1B: Carrigaline v Sliabh Rua; Tracton v Ballygarvan.
Mid Region Division 2A: Clyda Rovers v Donoughmore; Grenagh v Kilshannig.
North Region Division 1: Charleville v Ballycastle Gaels; Fermoy v Mallow; Killavullen v Shandrum.
North Region Division 2: Ballyhea v Buttevant; Croke Rovers v Kilara Óg; Newmarket v St Kevin’s; Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels v Millstreet, 7.30pm.
North Region Division 3: Kildorrery v St Dominic’s, 7.15pm.
East Region Division 1: Bishopstown v Erin’s Own, 6.30pm; Cobh v St Colmcille’s; Lisgoold v Carrigtwohill.
East Region Division 2: Bride Rovers v Passage, 6.30pm; Mayfield v Castlelyons; Watergrasshill v Fr O’Neill’s.
West Region Division 1: Owen Gaels v St Olan’s; Ballinhassig v Kilbrittain, both 7.30pm.
West Region Division 2: Cloughduv v Sam Maguire’s; Courcey Rovers v Laochra Óg, both 7.30pm.
West Region Division 3: Kilbree v Western Gaels, St Patrick’s v Ahan Gaels, both 7.30pm.