Like all the draws that took place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, there are plenty of upcoming games that caught the eye in the Co-op Superstores PIHC, IAHC and Lower IHC.
Two of the draws were slightly complicated as the finals haven’t taken place yet so Aghabullogue or Éire Óg will move up to the PIHC once they play their final, at a date to be confirmed.
The same applies at the Lower IHC grade where Castlemartyr and Russell Rovers have yet to face off in that final.
These two games, along with a number of other finals, will have to be played before these championships start. It’s a massive incentive for all four sides to try and move up a level and the losers will have to be considered amongst the favourites to join them at the higher level come the end of the 2021 competitions.
There is an added complication for Éire Óg as they also have a football final to play so it’s going to be a busy season for them. At this stage, winning is all about going up and whoever it is won’t have too much time to celebrate before they turn their attentions to the 2021 campaign.
There are also further complications at the opposite end as relegation issues have to be sorted as well and in the IAHC Argideen Rangers, Meelin or Glen Rovers will find themselves going down to the Lower IHC.
At that level (LIHC) Barryroe were involved in the relegation battle last year and have another tough task in the group stages this year.
Last season’s defeated finalists, Castlelyons, will get their 2021 Co-op Superstores PIHC campaign underway with clashes against Watergrasshill, Inniscarra and Valley Rovers in the group stage.
They will be firm favourites to win this group but their clash with the Hill is one that catches the eye.
In a superb game, they lost out to Blarney in the final, in which they weren’t helped by the loss of Colm Spillane just minutes in to a hand injury. He had been in outstanding form for his club all through their campaign when he lined out at centre-forward.
They had come through the group stage undefeated, but Blarney got their revenge in the final to win the title.
Another side who will fancy their chances at this level are Ballincollig.
They have a number of young players coming through that should complement their experienced ones. Their group is one they are more than capable of winning, as they face Ballinhassig, Aghada and Kilworth, but the dual player aspect is one that could come against them.
In the Co-op Superstores IAHC once the final from last season is out of the way then either Éire Óg or Aghabullogue will find themselves up against Carrigaline, Courcey Rovers and Youghal.
The clash of near-neighbours Carrigaline and Courcey Rovers is one that would see a massive crowd attend in a normal year and hopefully by the time they play crowds of some sort will be present.
The groups in the Co-op Superstores Lower IHC is full of complications and will need a few county finals and relegation games played before they are fully sorted.
In Group A will be the team that finishes third in the relegation play-off between Argideen Rangers, Meelin and Glen Rovers. One game has been played in that series and it saw Meelin and Glen Rovers end all square.
It looks to be a very competitive group with Kilbrittain, Dripsey and Grenagh awaiting them.
Group B will have the losers of the county final between Castlemartyr and Russell Rovers, along with Tracton, St Finbarr’s and the Junior A county champions. Again a lot to be sorted in this group with the final one the only that is sorted at this stage. Group C will see Barryroe hoping to improve on their form from last year and they won’t find it easy as they face St Catherine’s, Milford and Barryroe.
Group A: Carrigaline, Courcey Rovers, Youghal and winners of Aghabullogue v Éire Óg.
Group B: Castlelyons, Watergrasshill, Inniscarra and Valley Rovers.
Group C: Kilworth, Ballincollig, Ballinhassig and Aghada.
Group A: Loser of Aghabullogue v Éire Óg, Sarsfields, Dungourney, second side from the Argideen Rangers, Meelin and Glen Rovers round-robin.
Group B: Blackrock, Mayfield, Douglas and winners of Russell Rovers v Catlemartyr.
Group C: Kildorrery, Cloughduv, Midleton, first from the Argideen Rangers, Meelin and Glen Rovers round robin.
Group A: Third place between Argideen Rangers, Meelin and Glen Rovers, Kilbrittain, Dripsey, Grenagh.
Group B: Losers of Castlemartyr and Russell Rovers, Tracton, St Finbarr’s, Junior A winners.
Group C: St Catherine’s, Milford, Ballygarvan, Barryroe.