AFTER recording one of the most impressive results in the opening weekend of Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC games, Douglas will look to secure a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
Having come through last year’s ‘group of death’ with Sarsfields as Midleton and Ballyhea were eliminated, this time around the eastern suburb were drawn with Glen Rovers, Newtownshandrum and Bishopstown. Their opener, against the defeated 2020 finalists the Glen in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Saturday night, was a stiff test, but one they came through handsomely.
They led all through this Group A encounter, holding a 0-13 to 0-5 half-time lead and ultimately triumphing by 0-24 to 1-10, with Shane Kingston landing ten points while there were eight other scorers.
However, as veteran defender Eoin Cadogan made clear afterwards, this was just one game and nobody is getting carried away.
“A win on the first day is a help, that's for sure, but there was no backslapping,” he said.
“Douglas, we have been talking and talking and talking. And people have been talking about us and the potential and the underage and all that, but we have never delivered on it.
Glantane is the venue at 4pm tomorrow as Douglas look to follow up that victory, with Newtownshandrum the opposition. Having fallen behind early on against Bishopstown last Sunday, Newtown looked to have got on top. Cork’s All-Ireland U20-winning captain Cormac O’Brien landed a goal – and finished with 1-2 – while Conor Griffin shone too, but James Scally landed a late equaliser for the Town.
Newtown manager Pat Mulcahy was disappointed that his team were unable to hold on and it means that, if they were to lose to Douglas, everything could be riding on the final game against the Glen.
By the time Douglas and Newtown take to the field, they will know how the city derby between the Glen and Bishopstown will have gone, with that game commencing at 2pm in Páirc Uí Rinn. The Glen’s margin for error has dissipated after the Douglas loss but they will still be favourites, however Bishopstown – who survived the relegation playoff last year after three group-stage defeats – will take heart from how they battled back. Shane O’Neill, withdrawn at half-time last week, could be an absentee, though.
In Group B, Sarsfields sent out a statement of intent with a comprehensive win over Na Piarsaigh on Saturday evening in Páirc Uí Rinn, 2-18 to 2-12 the final score. They will look to rubber-stamp their progression beyond the group stages when they face Carrigtwohill in Caherlag in Sunday’s only premier senior game.
Aaron Myers, son of Sars boss Barry, scored 14 points against Piarsaigh but he is just one of a number of talented forwards available to the Riverstown outfit. Carrigtwohill fell behind early against Midleton last week and only managed one point from play over the hour, something that will have to be improved upon if they are to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
Last year, Midleton lost to Sars in their opener and struggled to recover, so they will be keen to have booked their place in the quarter-finals before the sides clash in what could be a game to determine who tops the group. That said, Na Piarsaigh will have something to say about such expectations and they will be treating tonight’s game in Páirc Uí Rinn (7.30pm) as an old-style knockout championship tie – lose and their hopes are all but dashed but win and they are back on track.
Group C is finely poised, with last week’s two winners meeting each other while the two losers clash too, aiming to avoid elimination. Champions Blackrock cannot afford any slip-up after defeat to Erin’s Own but Charleville, beaten by St Finbarr’s, also need something from their game in Banteer at 5.30pm tomorrow.
On the other side of the coin, a resurgent Barrs clash with Erin’s Own in Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 7.30pm. Having had such confidence-boosting wins, both the teams go into the encounter knowing that victory will all but guarantee them a place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.