WHILE uncertainty still exists in relation to a return to action, the East Cork Junior Board has confirmed the list of championship gradings for the forthcoming season.
Recently appointed secretary Daniel Lane from Bride Rovers says that “with no definite window confirmed that will be afforded to play our games, the Executive decided that championship formats and subsequent draws would not be examined until the situation becomes clearer”.
There are 10 teams listed to take part in the junior A grade hurling championship - including Lisgoold, whose participation is of course depends on whether or not they go on to win last year’s county championship, which still has a number of games left to play.
Carraig na bhFéar, Cobh and St Ita’s are the only other clubs whose respective first teams are in this competition. Erin’s Own, Fr O’Neill’s, Watergrasshill and Killeagh will all be represented by their respective second selections, whilst the strength in numbers of both Sarsfield’s and Midleton is reflected as they will both take to the pitch with their third teams.
Last year, teams were divided into three groups of three-time will tell what shape this year’s championship will take.
In 2020 there were a few late withdrawals from the junior ‘A’ football championship, as fixture congestion due to the pandemic, prompted some clubs to focus on hurling only. The hope is that this year all 16 clubs listed as junior A will take their chances in what looks like being a very competitive championship.
It’s all first teams, bar Aghada, who will have their second selection on duty, with their first team engaged at county premier intermediate level.
Ideally, the plan would be to form four groups of four, with each team guaranteed three games before the knockout stages come into play.
However, should Midleton go on to win the 2020 county championship, there would have to be a rethink. A scenario of either group or knock-out format will be dependent on the duration of the period allowed when restrictions are lifted.
Elsewhere in East Cork, St Catherine’s have confirmed that the new intermediate hurling management team of Shane Kearney, Shane Fitzgerald, Colm Burke, Martin O’Keeffe and Tim O’Connor will also take responsibility for the club’s junior B grade football team.
The Saints have regarded junior A for the new season. They will be joined by second teams from Erin’s Own, Glenville, and Glanmire along with Ballincurra’s first 15.