Cork GAA: Who will qualify in the Senior A Hurling Championship?

Denis Hurley looks at the permutations in the highly competitive Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC
Cork GAA: Who will qualify in the Senior A Hurling Championship?

Bride Rovers' Eoin Roche keeps possession under pressure from Ballymartle's Darren McCarthy and Luke O'Callaghan, during their SAHC clash at Riverstown. Both clubs will be hoping to progress to the knockout stages. Picture: David Keane.

IT'S still all to play for in the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC ahead of the weekend, with no club certain of advancing to the knockout stages.

GROUP A

Fermoy are the opponents for Kanturk in Buttevant (all games 4pm on Sunday). Fermoy’s win over Bandon last time out – with Jake Carr and Adam Creed impressive – means that they would progress with another victory, while any other result will ensure that Kanturk advance. The Duhallow side will look to Brian O’Sullivan, Lorcán McLoughlin and Colin Walsh.

Blarney face Bandon in Ballyanly – the Lilywhites are unable to qualify but will be looking for a positive result in the hope of avoiding the relegation play-off. Aidan O’Mahony and Mike Cahalane are key for Bandon, but Blarney are in good form and can call upon Mark Coleman, Pádraig Power, Shane Barrett and Declan Hanlon.

GROUP B

In Group B, Bride Rovers are in the driving seat after wins over Ballyhea and Ballymartle. Mallow are their next opponents, with Kildorrery the venue, and anything other than a defeat will confirm the Bartlemy/Rathcormac side as group winners.

Brian Roche and Conor Barry provided scoring output against Ballymartle, though it was a game overshadowed by injury to Jason Pratt. Mallow were thankful to goalkeeper Padge Buckley for his late saves as they beat Ballyhea, with Aaron Sheehan’s frees of vital importance.

If Mallow were to win and Ballymartle – who beat Mallow first time out – failed to beat Ballyhea, Mallow would top the group thanks to a head-to-head advantage over Bride. Wins for Mallow and Ballymartle would mean a three-way tie at the top, with scoring difference deciding the qualifiers.

Mallow goalkeeper Padge Buckley saves a penalty late in the game against Ballyhea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Mallow goalkeeper Padge Buckley saves a penalty late in the game against Ballyhea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Darren McCarthy and Luke O’Callaghan are likely to be central if Ballymartle do win, while Ballyhea will look to Pa O’Callaghan and Eugene O’Leary as they seek to keep their narrow hopes of qualification alive – they would need a large victory, coupled with a big Bride win over Mallow – to progress on scoring difference with three teams level on two points in second place.

GROUP C

Last year’s beaten finalists Fr O’Neills will hope to claim victory in an East Cork derby for the second game in a row as they seek to advance. Winless Cloyne are their opponents in Castlemartyr, with an O’Neills victory likely to condemn their opponents to the relegation game.

Declan Dalton led the way as O’Neills beat Killeagh in their last game, having drawn with Newcestown before that. Cloyne will look to Brian O’Shea and Paudie O’Sullivan for inspiration.

Cloyne's Conor Cahill and Briain Minihane and Newcestown's Fionn Keane trying to win the ball in the Co-op Superstores Cork SAHC at Ballyanly.
Cloyne's Conor Cahill and Briain Minihane and Newcestown's Fionn Keane trying to win the ball in the Co-op Superstores Cork SAHC at Ballyanly.

Newcestown’s game with Killeagh in Coachford is winner-take-all in terms of qualification, though a draw would suffice for the West Cork side, who have three points to their opponents’ two. If O’Neills and Newcestown both win, then scoring difference would determine first and second spots. Luke Meade and Richard O’Sullivan impressed in Newcestown’s win over Cloyne, while Killeagh’s hopes rest with Eoghan Keniry and McCarthy.


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