Cork GAA: Senior A Football Championship is still wide open

With one round of group games left to play, a number of clubs are in the mix for county glory
Cork GAA: Senior A Football Championship is still wide open

Fermoy's Padraig de Roiste keeps at arm's length away from Clyda Rovers Tim Buckley during the Bon Secours SAFC match in Killavullen last season. Picture: Howard Crowdy

FERMOY and Bantry Blues became the latest clubs to experience the Bermuda Triangle feeling of Éire Óg’s pitch in Ovens.

There’s something about the top goal which forwards find great difficulty in converting simple-looking chances into scores.

It happened again during the Bon Secours county senior A football championship tie in wretched conditions on Sunday when Fermoy posted a 0-11 to 0-7 victory.

The winners only managed two points in the first half while Bantry scored one more when it was their turn on the change of ends.

Fermoy manager Mick Hennessy agonised as his charges wasted chance after chance as they turned around 0-4 to 0-2 down.

“We lacked conviction in our shooting in the first half and I don’t know, but there’s something about Éire Óg’s pitch-it’s difficult shooting into the top goal,” he said.

“We had seven or eight wides or balls dropping short in the half and there’s only so much of that you can take, but, we made up for it in the second half.” 

Celebration time! Fermoy manager Mick Hennessy with a hug for key forward Ruairi O'Hagan, who was outstanding against Bantry Blues. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Celebration time! Fermoy manager Mick Hennessy with a hug for key forward Ruairi O'Hagan, who was outstanding against Bantry Blues. Picture: Larry Cummins.

It was a must-win game for both sides, who lost their opening matches and Fermoy now meet Clyda Rovers for a place in the knock-out phase.

“It’s great to win, obviously. Conditions were terrible at the start and the players weren’t used to the wind and rain.

“Bantry are a dogged side who weren’t going to make it easy for us, but I believe it’s better to win those tight games.

“There was a lot of physicality in it and we pulled away in the last 10 minutes.” Both teams squandered gilt-edged goal-scoring opportunities at either end.

“You need to take everything in this championship because scoring difference will be important.

“Last year we won the first round, lost the second round and won the third round, but it was the scoring difference in the first game that got us through to the semi-finals.” 

Mallow, last year’s runners-up, are through from Group C and will expect to pick up maximum points in their final game against Bantry to earn a semi-final berth.

It looks like the West Cork club are heading for the relegation match again, just like last year, when they stayed up by condemning St Nick’s to the drop.

Fermoy’s +2 scoring difference contrasts to Clyda’s minus 4 so a draw would send them through.

The only other certainty is that St Michael’s and Knocknagree will qualify from Group B after winning both games against Bishopstown and Kiskeam who now meet to determine which side must negotiate the dreaded relegation play-off decider.

Yet, there’s a major incentive for both Michael’s and Knocknagree because a semi-final slot beckons for the winners.

St Michael's Eoghan Buckley beng tackled by Sean Meehan for Kiskeam. Picture Denis Boyle
St Michael's Eoghan Buckley beng tackled by Sean Meehan for Kiskeam. Picture Denis Boyle

Group A is the most intriguing section because only two points separate leaders Bandon, who have three, from O’Donovan Rossa, who have one, at the bottom of the table.

Sandwiched in between on two points are Ballingeary and Dohenys, leaving it all to play for in the final round of games, when Skibb play Ballingeary and Bandon take on Dohenys.

It’s a wide open championship as Hennessy eluded to after his side’s win.

I don’t really worry about the other teams in the competition and that’s no disrespect to them.

“We concentrate on ourselves, but if you were to look at the bookies it’s a bit all over the place and that shows how great a championship it is.

“It’s fantastic at the moment. You get three games and see where that takes you,” he concluded.

SAFC 

Group A: 

O’Donovan Rossa 1-13 Bandon 2-10; Ballingeary 2-14 Dohenys 1-8; Bandon 1-10 Ballingeary 1-9; O’Donovan Rossa 0-11 Dohenys 0-17.

Fixtures: October 17: O’Donovan Rossa v Ballingeary, Aughaville; Bandon v Dohenys, Enniskeane.

Group B: 

St Michael’s 2-10 Bishopstown 0-5; Knocknagree 1-13 Kiskeam 1-5; St Michael’s 0-13 Kiskeam 1-8; Bishopstown 0-10 Knocknagree 1-14.

Fixtures: October 17: St Michael’s v Knocknagree, Glantane; Bishopstown v Kiskeam, Carrigadrohid.

Group C: 

Mallow 0-14 Fermoy 1-9; Clyda Rovers 0-15 Bantry Blues 1-7; Fermoy 0-11 Bantry Blues 0-7; Mallow 1-10 Clyda Rovers 0-4.

Fixtures: October 17: Mallow v Bantry Blues, Cill na Martra; Fermoy v Clyda Rovers, Ballyclough. All 4pm.

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