After stunning the Haven, Fermoy's next mission is to retain their senior status in the new top-12 format

After stunning the Haven, Fermoy's next mission is to retain their senior status in the new top-12 format

Roland Whelton, Castlehaven, challenges Martin Brennan, Fermoy, in last Sunday's game where the newly-promoted side created a major upset. Picture: Jim Coughlan

FERMOY'S stunning county senior football championship first round victory over past winners Castlehaven bucked the recent trend of premier intermediate champions struggling to make an early impact in the highest tier.

It's not that surprising for newcomers to take time in finding their feet and coming to terms with the physicality, intensity and quality of opponent at senior level, particularly those sampling it for the first time.

Of the last 10 premier intermediate champions only Valley Rovers have made it to the category of established senior clubs making it to the quarter-finals and they had two nibbles.

The Innishannon club captured the title in 2009 only to slip from senior and then return again following their 2014 success to make an immediate impression though the enormity of the challenge of taking it to the next level was evident in their heavy defeat by Nemo Rangers at the weekend.

Recent premier intermediate champions, Mallow, Kiskeam, Carrigaline and Clyda Rovers have found the going quite tough while forerunners St Vincent's and Newmarket are no longer in the senior championship.

Newcestown, the 2010 champions, continue to operate in senior and their hurlers have joined the ranks as well, representing a major achievement for the small, rural club.

At last week's county board meeting to discuss all matters championship CEO/Secretary Kevin O'Donovan discussed the grading method in formulating the merit table which will determine the leading 12 clubs in senior for 2020 and 2021.

The formula adopted was 10 points for preliminary or round 1 win, 5 for a round 2 or relegation play-off, 20 for round 3 or 2A, 40 for quarter-finals, 80 for semi-finals and 120 for a county senior final win.

The rankings are based on results from 2016 to include this year's performances and Fermoy's case is interesting because they started the championship on zero points.

O'Donovan compared the process to sitting an exam where all the points are only available for the higher paper and nothing for the lower version.

Accordingly, for Fermoy to qualify for next year's new-look Premier Senior grade they can finish in the top 12 based on just one season's results or make the quarters.

Currently, Ilen Rovers, who meet Carbery Rangers in the outstanding round 1 tie in Castlehaven on Sunday, and Newcestown are tied for 11th spot with 35 points to their names.

Fermoy's victory over the Haven earned them 10 points, leaving them in joint 17th place along with Clyda, who suffered at the hands of champions, St Finbarr's, in the first game of the double-bill at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Realistically, Fermoy, will have to win their round 3 game and qualify for the quarter-final which would guarantee their place in Premier Senior regardless of jumping up the rankings and overtaking a whole chunk of teams to make the leading 12.

Others outside the loop at the moment include O'Donovan Rossa, Dohenys and St Nick's, long-established senior clubs who experienced contrasting emotions in round 1.

The Skibbereen and Dunmanway clubs made winning starts to 2019 while the city lost heavily and now await their fate in the round 2 draw.

Normally, this is made in conjunction with the first round, but this season it won't be held until after all the games have been completed.

And given that they won't be played until August due to the inter-county scene, there is a lot of sense of delaying the draw.

St Nick's will be joined by the Haven, Bishopstown, Carrigaline, Newcestown, Clyda, Mallow and the losers of the Ilen-Carbery Rangers game.

The placings are: 1 St Finbarr's 485 points, 2 Nemo Rangers 440, 3 Carbery Rangers 410, 4 Ballincollig 245, 5 Castlehaven 140, 6 Valley Rovers 130, 7 Douglas 65, 8 Bishopstown 50, 9 Clonakilty 45, 10 Carrigaline 40, 11 Ilen Rovers and Newcestown 35, 13 Kiskeam and O'Donovan Rossa 25, 15 Dohenys 20, 16 St Nick's 15, 17 Clyda Rovers and Fermoy 10, 18 Mallow 5

More in this section

Sponsored Content