JUST like last season, Bandon’s never-say-die attitude surfaced again in the opening round of the Bon Secours county senior A football championship.
And in a repeat of their 2020 campaign, the west Cork club managed to draw following Michael Cahalane’s last-gasp goal against one of the fancied sides, O’Donovan Rossa, last weekend.
In the previous campaign, Bandon drew with Dohenys, whose game with Clyda Rovers also ended in parity, which made for a very congested Group C table at the conclusion of the three-match schedule.
Just a couple of points separated winners Fermoy from Dohenys at the other end of the listings with Bandon and Clyda finishing tied on three points apiece, but Bandon’s greater scoring difference prevailed as they advanced to the quarter-finals.
Next up is a meeting with Group A leaders, Ballingeary, at the end of the month, but Bandon, like all dual clubs, now switch their attention from football to hurling for the next fortnight.
Starting with Kanturk at the weekend, Bandon will replace footballs with hurleys and sliotars, giving them just a week to prepare for the Ballingeary challenge, when football comes around again.
The Gaeltacht club caught the eye, when scoring 2-14 against Dohenys, supplying seven scorers in the process, and they also carry a major advantage in being a football-only club.
And it’s the same for the Duhallow pair of Knocknagree and Kiskeam in Group B, where the city’s St Michael’s and Bishopstown complete the section.
Knocknagree’s momentum from the recent 2020 premier intermediate victory over Kanturk helped them put one over their neighbours, winning by 1-13 to 1-5 with another impressive spread of marksman.
Fintan O’Connor led the way with 1-3 and was followed by Cork’s Eoghan McSweeney, whose deadly accuracy showed with five points from play.
It was further evidence of the loss Knocknagree players will be to the Duhallow division after their promotion to the second tier, thereby making them ineligible.
Both St Michael’s and the Town reflect the high degree of difficulty in juggling both codes in a condensed period of time.
The Mahon club will have players involved in Blackrock’s senior and intermediate teams in the coming weekends while many of the Bishopstown players will be involved in their game against Newtownshandrum on Sunday.
At least, St Michael’s have the cushion of that 2-10 to 0-5 win over the Town to act as a buffer, when they return against Kiskeam while Knocknagree are next up for Bishopstown.
Mallow, who lost to Éire Óg in the delayed final, bounced straight back with a morale-boosting win over Fermoy in their opening Group C tie.
It was a repeat of last season’s semi-final when Mallow won by three points. This time it was two, 0-14 to 1-9.
Mallow’s team didn’t include either James Loughrey (transferred back to his home club in Antrim) or Cian O’Riordan (retired), but it did contain Cork U20 forward Sean McDonnell, who contributed two points.
While there was a new look to the starting 15, it still had a number of familiar faces like Cork wing-back Mattie Taylor and Shane Merritt in the half-back line and Darragh Moynihan and Eoin Stanton at midfield.
Mallow’s second game in the group, after they dispense with their hurling commitments, is a tasty local derby with Clyda, who also won their opening game by accounting for Bantry Blues by 0-15 to 1-7.
The evergreen Paudie Kissane was among the seven scorers with Eoin Walsh leading the way on 0-7, five from frees.
The Fermoy-Bantry tie is a must-win for either if they’re to have any hope of making the knock-out phase or being dragged into those dreaded relegation issues.