IT was a little different at the Parochial Hall Gurranabraher on Saturday with Covid protocols and a crowd restriction at the famous northside venue.
On each occasion I walk into the Hall, my juvenile days come rushing back to me and the great games that we witnessed over the last 50 years in this legendary setting.
Singletons Supervalu Brunell against The Address UCC Glanmire was the latest game and by God, the lucky fans were treated to a battle royal.
This season Brunell have a completely new squad and it’s hard to believe only one player remains, Alex Macheta since coach Timmy O’Halloran took over the reins in 2018.
In my media vantage point in the Hall, I am behind the Brunell bench and it's very noticeable there is great camaraderie in the squad that was shown for long periods in their game against the highly fancied Glanmire.
Even sponsor Tomas Singleton was impressed with the team's display up to the last quarter when they went into meltdown as the more polished Glanmire managed to secure a fortunate nine-point win.
Make no mistake Brunell had their opportunities to win and American Kwanza Murray and victory scholar Shannon Ryan will pose many teams problems in this league.
The Glanmire coach Mark Scannell must be mighty relieved he signed Irish Senior International Claire Melia who basically was the difference between winning and losing for the former champions.
Melia is the equivalent of poetry in motion as she glides through games but when her team needs inspiration she consistently produces the goods.
The Fr Mathew’s camp must have been totally shell-shocked when their team lost 73-58 away to newly-promoted St Mary’s Castleisland. Amazingly this is the same St Mary’s side that lost 112-41 in their opening game against UCC Glanmire.
Many pundits feared for them after this crushing defeat as they looked well out of their depth but to defeat Fr Mathew’s a week later was quite an extraordinary turnaround by the Kerry club.
Mathew’s coach Niamh Dwyer needs to get her side back on track and they will have another test on Saturday when they host Singletons Supervalu Brunell in an interesting Cork derby.
Better news for Fr Mathew’s Men’s Division 1 side as they got their season off to a great start with 14 points to spare over Killarney side St Paul’s.
Under coach Darko Bucan who is assisted by the former UCC Demons stalwart, Niall O’Reilly Mathew’s will look forward to Saturday’s derby against Demons in what should be a cracker.
Tradehouse Central Ballincollig are unbeaten after two games but their latest win away to Killorglin was a hard-fought affair.
The Ballincollig American Andre Nation put in a serious shift and Adrian O’Sullivan, after getting into early foul trouble, inspired his team with a captain’s performance.
Ballincollig are a decent side and will not be turned over easily by any side and should win again when they host NUIG Maree.
C & S Neptune got back to winning ways when producing a solid second-half display that eventually saw off a resilient NUIG Maree side 92-78.
It will be all hands on deck for player-coach Colin O’Reilly on Saturday when they travel over the county bounds to Tralee Warriors.