With new managers on board, Sars and Barrs are strong contenders in 2021

Cork Premier Hurling Championship won't be easy to predict this season
With new managers on board, Sars and Barrs are strong contenders in 2021

St Finbarr's manager Ronan Curran and Glenn O'Connor celebrate the win over Douglas in 2018. After a spell with Kanturk, the former All-Star is back at the helm in Togher. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THERE is some changing of the guard as far as management teams go in the Cork County Premier SHC for the coming season, whenever it gets off the ground.

The status quo might have prevailed in a lot of clubs, most notably champions Blackrock, Erin’s Own and Midleton among others, however, it is all change in clubs like Sarsfields, the Glen, the Barrs who have new men at the helm.

The status quo prevails too in Imokilly with Ciarán Cronin still at the helm.

Last weekend, Sars appointed Barry Myers as their new senior boss and they were one of the last clubs to finalise their management team.

Myers, of course, brings a strong set of credentials with him, having had great success as a minor, U21 and junior boss, winning titles at those grades, county titles with the first two and an East Cork championship with the juniors.

Ronan Curran returns to the Barrs after a very good year with Kanturk in the Senior A grade and he will be a more experienced campaigner as a result. The Blues won the minor county last season, so he has some gifted young hurlers to integrate into the senior side.

Ian Lynam takes over from Ritchie Kelleher in the Glen and he certainly knows the ropes better than anyone, having been a very successful coach and mentor alongside Kelleher.

Every new boss will have new ideas, providing a fresh impetus that they hope will make the difference in the final analysis.

THRILLING

Last year’s championship format in the county proved very successful and in both grades of the SHC we had some cracking games which provided great entertainment for those who had them live-streamed into their homes when very few spectators were allowed into the grounds.

That may well be the case again for a lot of the new season but isn’t half a loaf better than no bread at all. Everybody wants to be present when their team is in action but streaming the game is a very good alternative.

The County Board, quite rightly, decided to prevail with the format that was so successful the first time around and there’s no reason why it cannot be the same this time.

The draws for the new season have not been made yet but when they are they should provide plenty of talking points.

It is now generally accepted that we are in an era of a very competitive Cork County SHC and that goes for the Senior A championship as well.

In both grades, we now have a number of teams quite capable of going all the way, unlike in the past when just a few could be considered for the ultimate prize.

The Rockies won’t be easily dislodged from their lofty perch and must be one of the favourites again.

The Glen won’t be far away either and you would expect the Barrs to be much better this time.

Their minor victory last season will have injected fresh impetus into the club as a whole and the blend should be better this time.

Midleton were a big disappointment last time and the expectation that they too will be challenging more strongly again with Conor Lehane now fully concentrated on club matters.

Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Erin’s Own will believe that they can build on a very good 2020 season and Douglas have the potential to back up one good display with another.

Newtown and Na Piarsaigh should never be taken lightly and UCC will have the players again to be in the thick of things.

Imokilly will be similar and it all makes for another potentially cracking championship with Charleville back up again after their Senior A success and more than capable of being a test for the best.

Of course, at the end of the day, it may all come down to who has the strongest squad, the team that will have 20 or 21 players all capable of starting.

We had that last season with Blackrock and that made all the difference in some games, especially in the cracking semi-final with UCC, the game of the championship.

At first glance in the Senior A championship, you would pencil in last season’s beaten finalists, Fr O’Neill’s and Kanturk, losers to Charleville in a great semi-final as two of the favourites.

Right now the championship might seem some distance off but it will happen and we will get some great clashes again.

And maybe it’s time for the draws to be made and give the clubs a bit of a road map to work off.

And we could be trying to forecast who will emerge from the various groups, who the two from the four will be.

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