TWO recent county senior football champions, Carbery Rangers and Ballincollig, face do-or-die games in round two at the weekend.
Both lost their opening, Bon Secours-sponsored premier grade ties and must win to remain in the hunt for a top-two finish in their respective groups.
Carbery Rangers, the 2016 champions, meet Ilen Rovers in Leap tomorrow, at 5pm.
For Ballincollig, the 2014 champions, Clonakilty stand between them and elimination. They collide in Enniskeane on Sunday, at 2pm.
The Rosscarbery club lost to Castlehaven, 0-14 to 0-9, in their opening Group 2 game, in Clonakilty, though goalkeeper Paul Shanahan, John Hayes, and John O’Rourke didn’t start (but Hayes came on). Midfielder Mark Hodnett was outstanding in the first half, when Ross had the strong wind at their backs, and he surged forward to land 0-3, two from frees.
A fit Hayes and O’Rourke would adorn most teams, and if they’re available, then Ross’ have every chance of keeping their season alive, especially as Ilen fell to a heavy defeat to Newcestown at the first time of asking.
Scoring only 1-7 was a poor return from the men from the islands, with Sean O’Donovan scoring the lone goal, from a penalty, but conceding 3-17 tells its own story.
Ballincollig lost to the 2018 champions, St Finbarr’s, 1-13 to 0-10, coughing up a sloppy goal, which had obvious implications.
Liam Jennings, Noel Galvin, and Cork’s Cian Kiely form the backbone of the defence, while Cian Dorgan shoulders the scoring burden, reflected in his 0-6, five from frees, along with young gun Darren Murphy.
Clon’s cause isn’t helped by Cork’s Liam O’Donovan’s cruciate knee ligament injury, sustained at the start of July.
On the plus side, though, the inclusion of Dara O Sé, from the Kerry Gaeltacht, is a major plus, as indicated by his 0-8 in the 1-12 to 0-8 win over Carrigaline. They also have Mark and Seán White and Tom Clancy on board.
Holders Nemo Rangers should clinch a play-off spot, when they meet Bishopstown at Pairc Uí Rinn tomorrow evening, at 7.30. Luke Connolly, Barry O’Driscoll, and Paul Kerrigan combined for 2-8 of their tally in overcoming Valley Rovers 3-8 to 1-9. Nemo were missing a number of regulars through injury, but some are expected back to add to Town’s difficulties.
They lost to Douglas, 1-14 to 1-9, Odie Devlin scoring the goal and substitute, Brian O’Neill, helping himself to four pointed frees. Jamie O’Sullivan captains the side from centre-back and former Cork underage player Paul O’Flynn is set to be at midfield again.
The other game in Group 3 is Douglas-Valleys, in Ovens, on Sunday, at 4pm, and this is nicely poised.
The city club’s attack didn’t look that menacing, with only Conor Russell and Liam Dineen scoring 0-3 from play, though the Hartnett brothers at midfield, Brian and Niall, hit 0-2 apiece. Captain Sean Wilson and Nathan Walsh caught the eye in defence.
Valleys competed well against Nemo, with Jack Walsh scoring a fine goal and Fiachra Lynch supplying seven of their nine points.
Chris O’Leary and Kevin Canty were industrious at midfield and the Innishanon side used the ball wisely.
The Barrs could have too much for Carrigaline, who must win, in their meeting at Pairc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, at 2pm, especially if Stephen Sherlock and Cillian Myers Murray are on song again. Ian Maguire will offer direction from midfield. Carrigaline had seven different scorers against Clon’, but only Jack McCarthy claimed two points.
The game of the weekend could be Haven and Newcestown, in Skibbereen, on Sunday, at 2pm. Newcestown reached their first semi-final last season and come into the game brimful of confidence while acknowledging the quality of opponent.
The winners will progress to the knock-out stage with a game to spare.
SATURDAY: Group 2: Carbery Rangers v Ilen Rovers, Leap, 5pm.
Group 3: Nemo Rangers v Bishopstown, Pairc Uí Rinn, 7.30.
SUNDAY: Group 1: St Finbarr’s v Carrigaline, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, 2pm; Ballincollig v Clonakilty, Enniskeane, 2pm.
Group 2: Castlehaven v Newcestown, Skibbereen, 2pm.
Group 3: Valley Rovers v Douglas, Ovens, 4pm.