Cork clubs need a full league to gear up for championship this season

GAA players await return to training, followed by meaningful matches over the summer
Cork clubs need a full league to gear up for championship this season

Sean Kiely, Ballincollig, shoots from Niall Quirke, Carrigaline, last sesaon. Ballincollig were top of the league before it was cut short early in 2020. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

CLUB players are waiting anxiously for their turn to hit the pitches once again following their inter-county colleagues who resumed collective training recently.

It’s hoped they will be given the go-ahead to return in the next few weeks with a June start for league action, all going well.

Everyone involved will be keeping their fingers crossed that the 2021 version of the Rochestown Park Hotel sponsored football leagues don’t suffer the same fate as last season.

Back then, all five divisions were up and running at the end of January/start of March, but didn’t last too long as Covid forced a halt before the inevitable cancellation.

Ballincollig, in particular, cursed their bad luck because they had enjoyed a promising start under the direction of new manager Podsie O’Mahony.

Victories over Mallow, St Michael’s and O’Donovan were characterised by high scoring returns, ranging from 1-17 to 0-15 to 2-15 as they sat top of the Kelleher Shield Division 1 league.

Three was the highest number of games played by any team in the division with half of the 10 teams managing just a couple.

Included in this group are the title holders St Finbarr’s, whose 2019 final victory over Cill na Martra still stands as the most recent decider.

The Barrs occupied fourth spot on eight points in the table at the time everything ground to a halt with St Michael’s, who won both their games, in second place, four points adrift of Ballincollig.

Clonakilty, who completed a hat-trick of a win, a draw and a defeat, were third, a point better off than the ’Barr’s, who drew with their west Cork opponents on a 1-10 apiece scoreline.

The much-anticipated return of league games will be especially welcomed by those eight clubs still with county finals to play from last season, including the mouth-watering Nemo Rangers-Castlehaven showpiece in the Bon Secours premier senior shoot-out.

The rivals only managed a game apiece in 2020 which they both collected the maximum five points and while their Cork players will be absent for the resumption, respective managers Paul O’Donovan and James McCarthy will want to hit the ground running.

 Cill na Martra's Sean Ó Foirreidh is tackled by St Finbarr's Olan Murphy, during the 2019 Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 final. Picture: David Keane.
Cill na Martra's Sean Ó Foirreidh is tackled by St Finbarr's Olan Murphy, during the 2019 Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1 final. Picture: David Keane.

One of the more interesting facets of the leagues in Cork that there is no correlation to championship gradings.

For example, Cill na Martra play in the third tier of championship, the premier intermediate, but are Division 1 standard when it comes to the league.

More in this section

Sponsored Content