A COUPLE of classic city-Duhallow games provide the feature of the last round of Group B games in the Bon Secours county SAFC on Sunday.
And the contrast between the two couldn’t be more stark because the St Michael’s-Knocknagree tie has a prize of a semi-final place, while it’s all about survival in the Bishopstown-Kiskeam encounter.
Michael’s and Knocknagree are already qualified, but there’s an alluring appeal of by-passing the quarter-finals, which adds a bit of spice to the contest.
The Mahon-based club restricted the Town and Kiskeam to just 0-5 and 1-8 respectively, but Knocknagree’s forwards are from another level again and will test their defence.
Eoghan Buckley is Michael’s leading scorer with 1-6 and yet Fintan O’Connor equalled that figure in the seven-point win over Bishopstown, having opened with 1-3 against neighbours Kiskeam.
Factor in Cork’s Eoghan McSweeney with 0-6 among a widespread list of scorers, including Michael Mahoney, and you can see the scoring power in the newcomers to the grade.
Still, Michael’s are the bookies’ fancies to lift the title and the experience gained over the years has to be a plus in their favour.
For Bishopstown, it’s a must-win game that looks like shaping up to be close and low-scoring for obvious reasons.
The city club scored 0-5 and 0-10 while Kiskeam hit 1-5 and 1-8 which suggests defences will be on top.
Thomas Scannell, who has scored 1-6, and Denis Scannell accounted for Kiskeam’s goals, which will be massive if there’s a repeat.
Sam Collins is Bishopstown’s main marksman with 0-7, but the burden has to be spread among the other forwards.
Group A is delicately poised with two points separating leaders Bandon from O’Donovan Ross at the bottom and Ballingeary and Dohenys sandwiched in between.
Skibbereen’s situation is surprising because they won all their group games last year to make the semi-finals, but they’ve yet to win this season, drawing with Bandon and losing to Dohenys.
Now, they’ve got to overcome a Ballingeary side that impressed against Dohenys but lost to Bandon by the minimum margin.
The Bandon-Dohenys tie is a repeat of last season which ended level at 0-12 apiece just to make the group even more intriguing and brimful of all sorts of permutations.
Group C is more clear-cut with Mallow on top following wins over Fermoy and Clyda and they should have too much for Bantry Blues, who are bottom.
A third success will hand last season’s beaten finalists a semi-final berth with Cork’s Mattie Taylor up against colleague Ruairi Deane.
The Fermoy-Clyda game is a winner-take-all affair with Padraig de Roiste, Ruairi O’Hagan, and Ben Twomey key figures for Fermoy while the evergreen Paudie Kissane leads Clyda’s charge.