IT’S over to the hurlers this week as the first round of the minor championships throws in tonight.
For most sides at Premier 1 and 2 level, it will be a fast turnaround to their second game as all bar two are out again on Sunday.
The reason for this is that it is the final day sides can play before Cork minors kick into action. So any side that has players on the Cork panel have to play again on Sunday.
There are a few factors that concern clubs about this, the worry of picking up injuries and the short time between the games. There are also positives as it gives sides beaten on Wednesday a chance to rectify that quickly by winning on Sunday.
Also, those that win tonight will go into their second games in confident form. Anyone who was at or saw the live stream of last year’s Premier 1 and 2 finals were treated to two outstanding games and hopefully this year’s championship will live up to the same standards.
Like the football all teams will have three games in the round-robin section with sides either then qualifying for the cup or shield semi-finals, guaranteeing all four championship games at least.
The Premier 1 title race is wide open, but Midleton will start as favourites to take the title. They were outstanding in the U16 championship last year and will be hoping to carry that into the minor title race.
But there are plenty of others who will fancy their chances as well, including Bride Rovers who lost out in the U16 final to Midleton.
Tonight Midleton are away to the Glen and will be hoping to make the trip home with the points on offer.
They will look to the likes of Tadhg O’Leary Hayes, Brian O’Connell, Tiernan Roche, and Kamil Nowak to get the better of the northside club.
Ballincollig too have been building nicely and had a great victory with the big ball over Douglas last week.
They are up against Carrigtwohill and with home advantage, the Village will be looking to keep their winning run going. Sunday sees Ballincollig travel to Midleton, in what is probably the game of the day.
Tadhg O’Connell and James Dwyer are both key figures from the Collig on the Rebel minor squad.
The defending champions, St Finbarr’s, start off with a difficult away trip to the Rockies, a club that dominated this competition at one stage. Recent years haven’t been as good to them, but their senior win last year will have lifted the club and they're hard to beat at Church Road.
Still, the Barrs have Cork minors William Buckley and Ben O'Connor to call on.
Bride Rovers take on Na Piarsaigh, again another game difficult to call. On paper, the home side will be favourites. They reached the Féile final three years as well as being runners-up to the Magpies at U16 in 2020. They've consistently challenged at this level.
Yet this is a good Piarsaigh outfit and it would be no great surprise to see them come out on top.
In the Premier 2 championship, it’s a rematch between the two finalists from the U16 championship as Douglas host Valley Rovers, with the latter hoping to add the minor title to their U16 success last year.
Rebel Óg U17 Premier 1 hurling championship, first named teams at home: Blackrock v St Finbarr’s; Bride Rovers v Na Piarsaigh, Glen Rovers v Midleton all at 7pm. Ballincollig v Carrigtwohill, 8pm.
Rebel Óg U17 Premier 2 hurling championship, first named teams at home: Kinsale v Sarsfields; St Olans v Shandrum; Douglas v Valley Rovers, all at 7pm. Kiltha Óg v Fermoy, 7.30pm.
Rebel Óg U17 Premier 1 hurling championship, first named teams at home: Na Piarsaigh v Blackrock; St Finbarr’s v Bride Rovers; Carrigtwohill v Glen Rovers, all at noon; Midleton v Ballincollig, 2.30pm.
Rebel Óg U17 Premier 2 hurling championship, first named teams at home: Shandrum v Kinsale, noon. Valley Rovers v Kiltha Óg; Fermoy v Douglas, both 7.30pm.
Rebel Óg U17 Premier 2 hurling championship, 7pm: Sarsfields v St Olans.