Club championship programme in Cork is cranking up

Club championship programme in Cork is cranking up
Ballincollig's Patrick Kelly hammers home his side's second goal past Muskerry's James O'Mahony. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE county senior football championship will crank up a few gears in the coming weeks, starting with the two outstanding round two games at the weekend.

St Finbarr's take on Newcestown in a do-or-die round 2B encounter, scheduled for Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening. 

The winners progress to a third-round date with Bishopstown.

On Sunday, there's an intriguing west Cork derby between Castlehaven and their own division, Carbery, In Dunmanway.

The winners advance to the fourth round draw while the losers face newcomers Kiskeam in round 3.

Those already qualified for round 4 are Duhallow, Nemo Rangers, UCC, Valley Rovers, Carbery Rangers, Ballincollig, Avondhu and Carrigaline.

They will be joined by two from Castlehaven/Carbery/Kiskeam, Douglas or CIT, Bishopstown or St Finbarr's or Newcestown and Clyda Rovers, who received a bye.

Carrigaline, Ballincollig and Avondhu booked their places following contrasting games at the weekend.

Carrigaline's Cian Barry keeps the ball away from Seandún's Mark Drummond. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Carrigaline's Cian Barry keeps the ball away from Seandún's Mark Drummond. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Carrigaline's 0-15 to 0-9 win over Seandun wasn't a game-of-the-season contender by all accounts, though that won't bother the winners one iota who'll be more than contented at continuing their season.

Ballincollig, the 2014 champions, produced a much-improved performance, when scoring an impressive 3-21 against Muskerry's 0-16 in Cloughduv.

A noticeable feature of their display was their mobility around the middle in particular, where the likes of Cian and Sean Kiely, Ciarán O'Sullivan and George Durrant brought more pep to Ballincollig's step.

Sixteen points would win many games, but Muskerry's frailties at the back allowed their opponents too much room and time to convert their many chances into scores.

Despite the obvious problems associated with divisional teams' preparations or rather the lack there of, Muskerry still showed enough pride in the jersey with captain Fintan Goold leading by example.

Yet, they must have been dis-heartened by the glaring lack of support at the game with practically all 16 points greeted by near silence from an attendance which was probably measured in the low hundreds.

Ballincollig now turn their attentions to intermediate hurling with half of the football team also involved against Kilbrittain in the quarter-final of that particular championship.

Ballincollig's Sean Kiely on the ball against Muskerry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballincollig's Sean Kiely on the ball against Muskerry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The footballers, whenever they will be playing again against yet-to-be-decided opposition, will have the evergreen John Miskella available after he missed the Muskerry because of holidays.

Luke Fahey, who didn't play due to illness, is another option for the next day and he, too, is set to figure for the hurlers in their attempts to make it to a county semi-final.

The paltry attendance at the Avondhu-Ilen Rovers tie in Macroom on Saturday didn't enhance the championship either.

And neither did the late start, the game throwing-in nearly 15 minutes later than the allotted 7pm time.

Once again, the divisional side, who reached last year's semi-finals following a memorable run of games, didn't have much vocal backing, but this didn't prevent them from putting on a dazzling display once they settled after a sluggish opening.

Like Ballincollig, who had lost surprisingly to Valleys, the north Cork division were attempting to rebound from a chastening experience against a strong UCC combination last time out.

Avondhu didn't have the services of Cork star, Jim Loughrey, who is on the mend from an ankle injury, but they coped well in his absence in a 2-12 to 0-9 triumph.

Once again, the importance of pace was quite obvious in their approach as numbers on the backs of jerseys meant precious little because it was all about movement on and off the ball.

Every outfield player put in a lung-bursting shift, especially Colm O'Connell.

Ryan Harkin, Avondhu, looks for passing options against Ilen Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins
Ryan Harkin, Avondhu, looks for passing options against Ilen Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins

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