WE COULD title this week’s piece: ‘The winners and losers from the opening round of the Cork 2021 football championship’.
However, to do so would be failing to mention the only draw in the 26-match programme, which was the scenario at the end of the Newmarket and Aghada clash in the PIFC.
For the East Cork team, it was very much youth and experience combining to earn a share of the spoils.
Cork U20 rising star Diarmuid Phelan and All-Ireland winner from 2010 Pearse O’Neill slotted over two injury-time points to bring parity to the proceedings. The two sides will still be confident of making the knockout stages.
Now winners and losers time.
Our friends and foes in Bishopstown will not thank us for mentioning that their senior A team filled in the idle gossip slot for quite a few.
They were relegated last season, but to put in a display like they did against St Michael’s has to be a cause of concern. A few of their followers described the offering as their worst adult football performance in 20 years.
Who or what is responsible for this demise may not be the remit of this column, but it needs addressing.
Next up for them after two rounds of hurling is a meeting with Knocknagree. This is the John Fintan Daly-coached side who, in their first season up, conquered fellow Duhallow side Kiskeam last Sunday.
In case Bishopstown aren’t aware, JFD gets an added kick from conquering large urban settlements!
St Michael’s, you can also take note.
Winners next, pride of place has to go to the four promoted teams.
Éire Óg in their Premier Senior debut served notice that they are not that keen to enter the relegation saloon.
A minute into the second half, they trailed Carbery Rangers by three points but, from there to the last sounding, they outscored their opponents 1-9 to 0-3. Some of their personnel may have changed since they won the county junior 2008, but two are still strutting their stuff.
In the 60th minute, wing-back Dermot O’Herlihy (who has the hairstyle of a poet) won possession and took off on a heads-up solo run and, when it was appropriate to do so, found Daniel Goulding, who moved forward and fisted over.
It was a symbolic and perfect moment.
Goulding may not have the mobility he possessed 13 years ago, but his style and execution of free taking is still exemplary.
A player that caught my eye was John Cooper from the newbies. Coming up to half-time, he won possession back in his centre-back patch and headed forward.
He was not a welcome guest and, despite a few western clatters, he drove over the Mid Cork side’s fifth point.
He has the style of a hardy buachaill. The new or the old Cork manager might be interested.
Next up for Éire Óg, again after two weeks of iomaint, are real big boys out west, Castlehaven. If you are in the honours class, you must attempt the higher-order questions. Haven aren’t that interested in sentimentality.
We have mentioned the next promoted side, Knocknagree, and their opening day success.
Not often that Rockchapel feature in the honours list but, as a consequence of winning the 2020 IFC a few weeks ago, they faced St Vincent’s.
The effect of a northside black card can’t be ignored because it resulted in the North West Cork team that shares fresh air with Limerick and Kerry folk outscoring St Vincent’s 2-3 to 0-1. That aside, it was a positive result for the Duhallow Rockies!
For about five years, Iveleary have mounted serious challenges to escape the inhibiting junior pastures, eventually succeeding a few weeks ago, when they defeated Boherbue to win the 2020 junior championship.
Last Sunday they made their debut on the bigger stage and took full advantage in defeating St Finbarr’s 0-18 to 0-12, with their scoring machine, Chris Óg Jones, notching up six points.
It will be more than interesting, to note how all four will get on over the next number of weeks.
Last Saturday night, I had the privilege of being a hack and a supporter at the meeting of Nemo and Valley Rovers.
To be honest, it is not a good combination, and on reflection, I probably should have issued a politician’s apology in relation to a few over-enthusiastic radio reports and a social media post or two. “The standards were not what I would expect of myself!”
However, while it was a satisfying and most welcome win for the fellow parishioners, it was not a reflection of where Nemo are at. If they didn’t celebrate after winning the 2020 county final, we should all get out of here right now.
Their next two opponents, Carrigaline and Douglas, won’t need an explanation as to what happens when a bear is poked.
Valley Rovers defeated one southside green-and-black clothed side, but they need to follow that up with a victory against the other southside outfit that sports the same colours. That may be more challenging than it appears.
- Contact: email@example.com.Twitter: @paudiep