Group C definitely looks like being this year’s ‘group of death’, with reigning champions Blackrock drawn with Senior A kingpins Charleville, last year’s semi-finalists Erin’s Own and old rivals St Finbarr’s. The Rockies only had four points to spare over Erin’s Own in the opener to last year’s championship, with Alan Connolly announcing himself at this level with a 1-9 haul. The champions may have a stronger panel but they would not expect to have everything their own way against the Glounthaune crew.
Group B also looks interesting, and it brings another rematch from last year. Midleton failed to get out of their pool last year, on the back of a three-point loss to Sarsfields, and a one-point defeat to Douglas. They will have felt very unlucky to get eliminated so early and will look forward to another crack at Sars. With Conor Lehane now fully focused on club duty, the Magpies will hope their star forward can return to something close to the form he showed in 2013 when he scored 2-10 in the final to propel them to county glory.