THE final round of group games in the Bon Secours county premier senior football championship on Sunday, October 17, is building up to a right crescendo.
At the moment there are only a number of guaranteed outcomes and they include Clonakilty, Castlehaven and St Finbarr’s reaching the knock-out phase with a game to spare.
Also bracketed into another category is that recent champions Ballincollig and Carbery Rangers cannot advance and could be sucked into the feared relegation play-off.
This prospect is also facing Carrigaline, who along with the other pair, are pointless at the bottom of their respective groups.
At the moment the number 1 ranked club are Douglas, who have four points along with Clon, the Haven and the ’Barr’s, but could still be squeezed out on scoring difference.
They play defending champions Nemo Rangers, who only need to win to top the section following their 23-point success against Carrigaline.
Valley Rovers are the other club in Group A and they also have two points, the same as Nemo, and are involved in a south-east derby against Carrigaline to determine their fate.
There are a lot of permutations and it’s likely to all boil down to scoring difference between Douglas and Valleys with the city club on +10 currently and the Innishannon club on 0.
For their part, Carrigaline must pick up something and hope results elsewhere fall their way. They have the worst record of those at the bottom on minus 32.
Group B, featuring the Haven, Eire Og, Newcestown and Carbery Rangers, is just as intriguing.
And wouldn’t the Haven love to dispatch their Rosscarbery rivals, whose scoring difference is minus 7, to the relegation decider at the same time as marching on to the semi-finals themselves?
The other game is equally mouth-watering because it’s a straight winner- take-all as newcomers Eire Og battle Newcestown.
Both are on two points, but the Ovens club have a better scoring difference of +3 compared to minus 4, so a draw would suffice for the 2020 senior A champions to make the play-offs, ensuring it’s must-win for Newcestown.
Group C, which has Clon, the ’Barr’s, Ballincollig and Ilen, also has plenty to offer even if the first pair mentioned have already qualified.
They square-up to determine the group winner with the prospect of by-passing the last-eight and progressing directly to the semis.
The Ballincollig-Ilen tie carries all the stress because another defeat, particularly for Ilen, whose scoring difference is minus 11 compared to their opponents’ minus 2, could mean one more unwanted game to preserve their status for 2022.
Before then, however, the attention turns to hurling the weekend after next, when all the dual clubs keep their footballs in the boot of cars for a while.
What was also noticeable about the weekend’s fare was the difference in conditions between games on Saturday and Sunday.
The five games on Saturday enjoyed near-perfecrt weather, but it changed dramatically for the Ross-Newcestown game the following day.
Meanwhile, the ’Barr’s lost one of their greatest supports in the sad passing of Billa O’Connell.
He brightened up many a dark afternoon up the ’Dyke or out in CIT at the Fitzgibbon Cup and was always in great cheer.
‘How are you boy? Wait ’til I tell ya..’ was his standard greeting. A Cork treasure!
RESULTS: Group A R1: Nemo Rangers 0-11 Valley Rovers 1-9; Douglas 1-15 Carrigaline 0-9; R2: Nemo Rangers 6-17 Carrigaline 1-9; Douglas 0-13 Valley Rovers 1-9.
Fixtures: October 17: R3: Douglas v Nemo Rangers, Pairc Ui Rinn; Carrigaline v Valley Rovers, Ballygarvan.
Group B R1: Carbery Rangers 1-9 Eire Og 1-15; Castlehaven 2-12 Newcestown 1-10; R2: Eire Og 2-16 v Castlehaven 2-19; Carbery Rangers 0-8 Newcestown 0-9.
Fixtures: R3: Castlehaven v Carbery Rangers, Leap; Eire Og v Newcestown, Kilmurry.
Group C R1: St Finbarr’s 2-15 Ballincollig 1-17; Clonakilty 3-10 Ilen Rovers 0-11; R2: St Finbarr’s 0-17 Ilen Rovers 1-11; Clonakilty 1-10 Ballincollig 0-12.
Fixtures: R3: St Finbarr’s v Clonakilty, Coachford; Ballincollig v Ilen Rovers, Ballinacarriga. All 2pm.