Cork GAA: Intermediate A Football grade remains wide open

Mark Woods looks at the results so far and the teams pushing for the eight spots in the knockout stages
Cork GAA: Intermediate A Football grade remains wide open

Patrick Magee, Mitchelstown, battling Billy Casey, Aghabullogue. The clubs are again leading contenders for the IAFC title. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THERE’LL be some craic in the last round of games in Group D in the Bon Secours Intermediate A Football Championship involving Gabriel Rangers, Ballydesmond, Ballinora and Dromtarriffe.

That’s because they’ve all won one and lost one in the games to-date so the quartet are level on two points each as Gabriels take on Dromtarriffe and Ballinora meet Ballydesmond on October 16.

Scoring difference could be significant and in that department Gabriels have the best record, +7, with Ballydesmond on zero and the other pair in the minus category.

A couple of victories will make qualification straightforward with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals, but a draw or two would mean dusting off the cobwebs from the abacus.

The one bright note is that relegation won’t be a factor for any of the four clubs as the bottom teams in the other three groups have yet to register a point.

Last season, Ballinora were the only team in the group to advance with Gabriels relegated from premier intermediate at the hands of Na Piarsaigh.

Aghabullogue, who lost to Mitchelstown in last season’s semi-final, are on course to make the play-offs again.

They sit top of Group A with four points and a healthy scoring difference of +26 with a final game to come against Glanmire, who are third behind Mitchelstown with Kildorrery bottom of the pile.

The goal-scoring exploits of Matthew Bradley and David Thompson have helped the Muskerry club big time with Cork senior defender Paul Ring leading the side from centre-back.

Barring a complete collapse, Aghabullogue will take their place in the next phase with their arch-rivals Mitchelsown set to join them.

The return of Cathail O’Mahony caused no end of difficulties for Glanmire last weekend and with Mark Keane poised for a comeback, as well, it should spell another hazardous outing for neighbours Kildorrery, who look set for the relegation decider.

Mitchelstown have recovered well from the disappointment of losing the 2020 final to Rockchapel and then to Aghabullogue in their opening group game.

Another Avondhu club, Kilshannig, are also creating waves in Group B after victories over Glanworth and Glenville and should cement a 100% record in their concluding game with Adrigole.

Glanworth recovered from a heavy defeat by Kilshannig to get their knock-out drive back on track against Adrigole, when David Pyne and Michael Sheehan impressed. They need to overcome dogged Glenville in their last game to copperfasten second spot in the section.

County junior champions Iveleary have clearly carried the momentum from the successful 2020 campaign into their historic adventure in a higher grade of football this term.

Backed by the exciting scoring exploits of Chris Óg Jones and Cathal Vaughan in particular, the Mid-Cork club are riding high on top of Group C with maximum points from their two outings.

While they might be accused of being goal-shy, Iveleary can make a very strong case for the old adage of ‘take the points and the goals will follow’ because they’ve accumulated a whopping 43 so far.

They opened with 18 against St Finbarr’s second string and followed it by scoring an amazing 25 against Millstreet last weekend, when conditions deteriorated drastically on Sunday afternoon.

That’s the level of challenge confronting bottom side Kinsale in the last game and the east Cork club’s scoring difference could also be affected if Iveleary continue in the same vein.

The Millstreet-Barrs tie is a straight shoot-out and they’ve the same minus 5 scoring difference, too, so it’s winner-take-all for the quarter-final spot on offer.

They also met in the group stage last season, when Millstreet recorded a big win.

GROUP A

Results R2: Glanmire 1-6 Mitchelstown 4-12; Kildorrery 1-8 Aghabullogue 4-20.

Fixtures:  (October 16) Mitchelstown v Kildorrery, Araglen; Glanmire v Aghabullogue, Ballyanley.

GROUP B

Results R2: Glanworth 0-14 Adrigole 1-6; Glenville 1-7 Kilshannig 0-14.

Fixtures: Kilshannig v Adrigole, Ballingeary; Glanworth v Glenville, Fermoy.

GROUP C

Results R2: Kinsale 0-11 St Finbarr’s 0-12; Millstreet 1-13 Iveleary 0-25.

Fixtures: Millstreet v St Finbarr’s, Macroom; Kinsale v Iveleary, Brinny.

GROUP D

Results R2: Ballinora 2-16 Dromtarriffe 3-8; Gabriel Rangers 0-13 Ballydesmond 0-14.

Fixtures: Dromtarriffe v Gabriel Rangers, Kilmichael; Ballinora v Ballydesmond, Clondrohid. All 4pm.

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