Focus returns to club league action but will the Cork players be available?

Focus returns to club league action but will the Cork players be available?
Alan McCarthy and Ian Maguire, St Finbarr's, take on David Nation and Colin O'Brien, Nemo Rangers. Picture: Jim Coughlan

IT’S rather timely that club players get their say about what they think of the county championships and leagues at a special gathering of the clans in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday morning.

Around the same time, Cork footballers are expected to train on the adjoining 3G pitch in preparation for their crunch Division 2 tie against Donegal at Páirc Uí Rinn the following Saturday.

After last week’s win over Tipperary, manager Ronan McCarthy said players would be available to play for their clubs the following day.

As ever though how many actually get to strip is another matter with some playing some portion of games and others either unable or unwilling to lend a hand.

There are four games scheduled in Rochestown Park Hotel League Division 1 with the stand-out fixture that of great city rivals Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr’s in Trabeg on Sunday at 5pm.

Between them, they had six players, three apiece, in the Cork starting 15 and a seventh as a used substitute.

The Barrs, the county champions, had Sam Ryan and Conor Dennehy in defence along with captain Ian Maguire at midfield while Nemo, the defending league champions, had goalkeeper Micheál Aodh Martin and forwards Luke Connolly and Paul Kerrigan with Stephen Cronin in reserve.

The game is a repeat of last year’s final, played in December on a night with deteriorating weather conditions, when Nemo skipper Barry O’Driscoll made a telling contribution following his introduction from the bench.

The current competition is still in its infancy and the table takes some getting used because of the new points’ system which has four for a win and a point for every team which plays a game.

Nemo and Valley Rovers are joint top with 11 points from three games, two wins and a loss each, with Ballincollig and O’Donovan Rossa next in line on 10.

They are the only sides with 100% records though they’ve only managed two games apiece.

The Barrs are on nine along with newly promoted Kiskeam, the pair having won one, drawn one and lost one of their three games.

St Michael’s, who are also back in the top flight following a long absence, have won one and lost two of their games to be on seven points, the same as Clonakilty.

Carbery Rangers and Cill na Martra have six with Ballingeary propping up the table on three points after losing all their games to-date.

Ballincollig, who were crowned league champions in 2017, put their unbeaten record on the line away to Kiskeam with UCC Sigerson Cup winning captain, Cian Kiely, set to feature following his exploits in the famous skull and crossbones.

St Mary's Aaron Boyle and Cian Kiely of UCC. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
St Mary's Aaron Boyle and Cian Kiely of UCC. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

In Division 2, Mallow and Castlehaven are the only clubs with 100% records and they square up in the north Cork venue on Sunday, when there’s a 2pm throw-in.

Mallow had Mattie Taylor with Cork last weekend while the Haven had Mark Collins and Michael Hurley starting.

Hurley’s older brother Brian came on during the second half, when replacing his sibling.

It’s one of five games in the division that day with table-toppers Fermoy and Newmarket both in action away to Éire Óg and Clyda Rovers respectively.

Carrigaline are one of three clubs still searching for that elusive first win of 2019 and they visit Macroom, who are one from three.

Aghabullogue and Kanturk are the others seeking that breakthrough win and they meet in Coachford.

FIXTURES

SUNDAY

Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 Football League: Cill na Martra v Carbery Rangers, Cill na Martra, 2pm; Clonakilty v Valley Rovers, Clonakilty, 2pm; Kiskeam v Ballincollig, Kiskeam, 2pm; Nemo Rangers v St Finbarr’s, Trabeg, 5pm.

Division 2: Clyda Rovers v Newmarket, Mourneabbey, noon; Éire Óg v Fermoy, Ovens, noon; Aghabullogue v Kanturk, Coachford, 2pm; Macroom v Carrigaline, Macroom, 2pm; Mallow v Castlehaven, Mallow, 2pm.

Division 3: Bishopstown v Aghada, Bishopstown, 2pm; Rockchapel v Bandon, Rockchapel, 3pm.

Division 4: Gabriel Rangers v Grenagh, Ballydehob, 2pm; Glenville v Knocknagree, Glenville, 2pm; Kinsale v Castletownbere, Kinsale, 2pm; Mayfield v Ballydesmond, 2pm.

Division 5: Adrigole v St Finbarr’s, Adrigole, 2pm; Millstreet v Ballinora, Millstreet, 2pm.

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