NORMAL service is expected to resume, when champions Nemo Rangers return to action in the Bon Secours county premier senior football championship against Carrigaline at Páirc Uí Rinn tomorrow at 5.30pm
The holders find themselves in the unusual position of facing into a must-win Group A game after losing to Valley Rovers by 1-9 to 0-11 in their opening match.
It came just six days after Nemo won the 2020 title and manager Paul O’Donovan had said it would be a difficult assignment.
Now, the champions have re-grouped and Carrigaline, who lost their opening game to Douglas by 1-15 to 0-9, could face a backlash.
Expect Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan, James McDermott, Stephen Cronin and company to issue a declaration of intent here.
Carrigaline competed well for long stages against Douglas, when David Drake emerged as top scorer with 0-4 and David Griffin chipped in with a couple.
But, Nemo should have too much class and experience, particularly as the stakes are high.
Earlier in the afternoon Carrigaline is the venue for the other game in the section, a 2020 repeat of Valleys and Douglas, won by the Innishannon club. This throws-in at 2pm.
It’s a massive game for both clubs’ ambitions of reaching the knock-out phase with a Valleys’ victory keeping them on track for the lone semi-final berth available to the highest ranked group winner.
A second victory would clinch qualification and the impressiveness of their win over Nemo was cemented by Valleys not having star forward Fiachra Lynch due to injury.
Billy Crowley stepped in to shoot 1-5, including the winning point from a ’45 in injury-time, but Lynch’s presence would enhance any team.
Revenge will be on Douglas minds after nine players contributed scores with young Alan O’Hare leading the way with 0-5 and substitute Diarmuid McCarthy contributing 1-1.
Cork’s Sean Powter, Brian Hartnett and Nathan Walsh are important figures for Douglas in what’s sure to be a tight encounter.
St Finbarr’s, the 2018 champions, meet Ilen Rovers in Group C in Ballinascarthy mindful of their second-half collapse against Ballincollig, who almost produced a Houdini-like escape.
The Barrs won by a point, 1-17 to 2-15, but didn’t start skipper Ian Maguire due to a hand injury though he’s expected to be included on this occasion.
Cillian Myers-Murray hit 2-3 and Stephen Sherlock 0-7 for a ‘Barr’s side that should have too much for Ilen, who lost to Clonakilty by 3-10 to 0-11.
Captain Alan Holland was a notable absentee as was midfielder Can O’Driscoll while Ilen also picked up injuries to full-back Paddy Minehane and wing-back Aaron O’Sullivan.
Ballincollig’s big decision is whether to start Pa Kelly and Peter O’Neill for their game against Clonakilty in Newcestown tomorrow at 5.30pm.
Both were introduced at half-time against the Barrs, who surged 13 points clear five minutes into the second-half only for Ballincollig to ‘win’ the remainder by 1-11 to 0-2 to lose by the minimum margin.
It’s a repeat of 2020, when Ballincollig won comfortably, but it’s bound to be a lot closer on this occasion, particularly as Clon have the confidence of an opening day victory.
Dara O Se scored 2-5 against Ilen when Sean White, Tom Clancy and captain Eoghan Deasy shored up the defence and Joe Grimes covered every blade of grass.
Group B pitches the winners of the first round games, Castlehaven and newcomers Eire Og, together in Enniskeane tomorrow at 2pm.
Victory for either side would guarantee a knock-out place with a game to spare and it will be interesting to see how last year’s senior A champions fare against the Haven.
Eire Og supplied 10 scorers in their 1-15 to 1-9 win over Carbery Rangers while the Haven had eight in their 2-12 to 1-10 win over Newcestown.
The meeting of Ross and Newcestown is a must-win for both in Clonakilty on Sunday at 2pm.
Group A: Tomorrow R2: Nemo Rangers v Carrigaline, Pairc Ui Rinn, 5.30pm; Douglas v Valley Rovers, Carrigaline, 2pm.
Group B: Tomorrow R2: Éire Óg v Castlehaven, Enniskeane, 2pm.
Sunday: R2: Carbery Rangers v Newcestown, Clonakilty, 2pm.
Group C: Tomorrow R2: Ballincollig v Clonakilty, Newcestown, 5.30pm; St Finbarr’s v Ilen Rovers, Ballinascarthy, 4pm.