THERE are 13 teams in the hunt for the SE Systems Senior Championship title after last weekend’s back-door games saw Milford, Ballincollig, Muskerry, and Newcestown’s aspirations end, while Imokilly’s failure to field in their clash with Cloughduv also ended their involvement.
THE first fourth-round game took place on Thursday night, as Killeagh knockout out Douglas, which leaves six games to be decided this weekend.
St Catherine’s, boosted by their opening-round victory over Seandún, will be expecting a tough battle when they take on Carbery. Two years ago, Carbery pushed eventual champions Sarsfield’s all the way at the semi-final stage but have since lost Enniskeane to senior ranks and you would expect St Catherine’s to advance here.
Seandún now meet an Éire Óg side who welcomed back the injured Siobhan Hutchinson for their back-door victory over Milford. The divisional side were without the injured Amy O’ Connor for their two-point win over Newcestown, a game which they looked comfortable in and then had to survive dramatic closing minutes.
They are getting more familiar with each other and it would be a great boost to have O’Connor back for this one, but they will drive on regardless. Éire Óg needed a bounce after suffering such a heavy opening round defeat to the Glen and they got it against Milford with a comfortable 2-11 to 0-7 win.
They’ll have a tough game in Seandún, but Newcestown gave them a hard-earned victory so that should give the Ovens side encouragement. Ballygarvan take on a Sarsfield’s side that had a preliminary round win over Milford before going on to defeat Newcestown.
Champions in 2019, Sarsfields have had a strong underage structure for many years and are expected to be in the running for senior honours regularly. Last year was disappointing for them.
It’s not always easy to make the transition from underage to adult grade and maintain the success rate, but they will be expected to advance to the quarter-final, albeit it won’t be without a strong Ballygarvan challenge who are always tough championship campaigners, never give up easily, and they too will be confident they can get a result and move on to the quarter final stages.
Champions Courcey Rovers overpowered Ballincollig in round one, but they now face into the remainder of the championship minus Cork senior captain Linda Collins who departs today to take up a work role in Dubai.
Against Ballincollig she was superb, and she is a huge loss to Courceys as they go about retaining their crown. They take on a Cloughduv side who lost to Killeagh in round one and having got a walkover from Imokilly, go into a competitive round without a victory under their belts.
Debutants Enniskeane made a dream start to life in the top grade, defeating Douglas comfortably and that will have been a huge boost to their confidence as they face last year’s defeated finalists Inniscarra.
Inniscarra, in transition, lost to St Finbarr’s in round one but got the show back on the road when they defeated Muskerry and they will need to dig deep again to get over a vibrant Enniskeane.
The game of the weekend must be the clash of Glen Rovers v St Finbarrs. Expect a big crowd at this one.
This year’s championship is wide open with both sides capable of going all the way, so for one to be eliminated at this stage will be a huge disappointment. Much is expected of St. Finbarrs, who have five Cork minors on their panel, two of which didn’t make the starting 15 against Inniscarra.
Add in Gemma O’Connor, Lynda O’Connell, Keeva McCarthy, Sorcha McCartan and you have a very strong side. The Glen had an impressive, if maybe too easy, first-round victory over Éire Óg and this will be a different ball game altogether.
The Glen will need to be physically very strong here. They have slight but speedy corner-forwards and it’s important the right ball is played into them to avoid 50/50 battles and maximise their pace.
A mouth-watering game awaits.
Sarsfield’s v Ballygarvan, 2.15pm, Castle Road;
Glen Rovers v St Finbarr’s, 4.45pm, Castle Road;
Seandún v Éire Óg, 2.30pm, Brinny;
Courcey Rovers v Cloughduv, 4.30pm, Brinny;
Inniscarra v Enniskeane, 4.30pm, Cloughduv;
St Catherine's v Carbery, 12pm, Castle Road.