IT’S time to prepare.
Sharpen pencils, get plenty of paper, an old-fashioned rubber and a calculator to be sure.
Then, do the math.
All will be required the weekend after next, when the concluding round in the league phase of the Co-Op Superstores county hurling championships will be played across all five grades.
From premier intermediate on Friday evening through Saturday afternoon and evening for senior ‘A’ and premier senior to Sunday afternoon for intermediate ‘A’ and lower intermediate, a total of 30 games will be played.
At stake will be the chance to stay on course for possible glory or avoid getting dragged into a winner-take-all relegation battle and survival.
The county board unveiled fixtures for hurling and football, which will be played the following week, and details of how the knock-out stages will be organised.
Instead of having draws to determine the quarter-finals teams will be ranked based on their group positions.
Take the top tier of the premier senior hurling championship as an example.
One team, the best group winner, will progress to the semi-final.
There will be three quarter-finals, involving the other two group winners, the three group runners-up and the representative from the divisions/colleges section.
Accordingly, teams will be rated 1-6 with the division/college winner at 7. The quarter-final listings will be 2 v 5, 3 v 4, 6 v 7.
As an experiment, we took the current standings to determine what would unfold, mindful that a lot will change as results are digested, so it’s only a little game.
Blackrock would take the semi-final berth because of scoring more than Glen Rovers, the pair both having four points and a scoring difference of +16.
In that event, the higher scoring team, in this case, the Rockies, who’ve 4-42 compared to the Glen’s 4-38, get the nod.
Sarsfields also have four points with a +5 scoring difference and they’re ranked 3.
Na Piarsaigh are on three points so they’re ranked 4. Midleton, Erin’s Own and Newtownshandrum have two points apiece.
Midleton have a scoring difference of +16 compared to Erin’s Own’s -2 with Newtown on -9 in the same group as the Glounthaune club and they collide in the last pool game.
Accordingly the Magpies are rated 5 and Erin’s Own 6 while we’ll give the defending champions Imokilly, who play at the weekend, the number 7 ranking.
The quarter-finals would then be Glen v Midleton, Sars v Na Piarsaigh and Erin’s Own v Imokilly.
In the semi-finals Blackrock would take on either Sars or Piarsaighs with the winners of the Glen-Midleton and Erin’s Own-Imokilly ties clashing in the other.
Relegation will be one game between the two lowest-ranked clubs, currently occupied by St Finbarr’s and Ballyhea with Bishopstown looking over their shoulders nervously.
The three clubs are pointless which brings in scoring difference to determine their rankings.
The Barrs are worst off on -26, followed by Ballhea on -22 and Bishopstown on -5.
Carrigtwohill are vulnerable, too, with just one point after drawing with Na Piarsaigh, making their game against the Barrs hugely significant.
And with Piarsaighs taking on the Glen in the other game in Group 3, it’s certainly all to play for in that section.
FRIDAY, August 28:
PIHC Group 1: Courcey Rovers v Aghada, Pairc Ui Rinn; Carrigaline v Youghal, Carrigtwohill.
Group 2: Valley Rovers v Watergrasshill, Ovens; Ballinhassig v Ballincollig, Cloughduv.
Group 3: Inniscarra v Castlelyons, Pairc Ui Chaoimh; Blarney v Blackrock, Riverstown. All 7.30.
SATURDAY, August 29:
SAHC Group 1: Newcestown v Cloyne, Pairc Ui Rinn; Killeagh v Kanturk, Killavullen.
Group 2: Bandon v Mallow, Coachford; Charleville v Fermoy, Kildorrery.
Group 3: Ballymartle v Fr O’Neill’s, Cobh; Bride Rovers v Kilworth, Glanworth. All 4pm.
PSHC Group 1: Midleton v Douglas, Pairc Ui Chaoimh; Sarsfields v Ballyhea, Mourneabbey.
Group 2: Blackrock v Bishopstown, Inniscarra; Erin’s Own v Newtownshandrum, Glantane.
Group 3: Glen Rovers v Na Piarsaigh, Pairc Ui Rinn; St Finbarr’s v Carrigtwohill, Carrigaline. All 7pm.
SUNDAY, August 30:
IAHC: Group 1: Kildorrery v Dungourney, Rathcormac; Mayfield v Argideen Rangers, Brinny.
Group 2: Eire Og v Meelin, Mallow; Sarsfields v Douglas, Blarney.
Group 3: Cloughduv v Glen Rovers, Pairc Ui Rinn; Aghabullogue v Midleton, Ballinora. All 2pm.
LIHC: Group 1: Kilbrittain v Ballygarvan, Bandon; Barryroe v Russell Rovers, Passage.
Group 2: St Finbarr’s v Milford, Castletownroche; Castlemartyr v Ballymartle, Rostellan.
Group 3: Tracton v Grenagh, Ballincollig; St Catherine’s v Dripsey, Watergrasshill. All 4pm.