PROPOSED tweaking of the Bon Secours county football championships is unlikely to meet much opposition when it comes up for approval by clubs next month.
There’s a change planned by the county board executive in terms of how teams are seeded for the 2022 competitions, the draws for which will also take place in January.
If passed, it will mean the losing county finalists will be one of three top seeds along with the champions and the team with the best record in qualifying from the group phase.
It will result in Clonakilty, who lost an exciting premier senior final to the Barrs, elbowing Castlehaven out of top seeds and they will now be a second-seeded club.
For the draw, the top seeds will be the Barrs, Clon, and Douglas, who earned the only semi-final spot on offer by winning all three group games and having the best scoring difference in the process.
The Haven will be joined by Valley Rovers and Éire Óg, both beaten quarter-finalists, as second seeds while the remaining six clubs will not be designated either third or fourth seeds.
They are Nemo Rangers, Ballincollig, Newcestown, Carbery Rangers, Carrigaline, who survived the relegation play-off against Ilen Rovers, and senior A champions, Mallow.
Ilen will be one of the top seeds in the second tier of the football championship, joining St Michael’s, who lost to Mallow in the final, and Ballingeary.
The second seeds feature Dohenys, Knocknagree and Clyda Rovers while Bandon, Bishopstown, Fermoy, Kiskeam, Newmarket, and O’Donovan Rossa will also be in the hat but not designated either third or fourth seeds.
It’s the same formula in premier intermediate, which has the losing finalists, Kanturk, relegated from senior A Bantry Blues, and Cill na Martra as top seeds.
Aghada, Naomh Aban, and Nemo Rangers’ second team will be second seeds, joined by Castletownbere, Macroom, Rochapel, Na Piarsaigh, St Vincent’s, and newcomers Iveleary, who earned widespread praise in their march to the intermediate A title.
That championship differs to the others in that it has 16 teams instead of 12 and the top seeds in 2022 will be Mitchelstown, the losing finalists, St Nick’s, who dropped down from premier intermediate, and semi-finalists Kilshannig and Aghabullogue.
There are three Duhallow clubs, Millstreet, Dromtarriffe, and Ballydesmond who will be second seeds along with Glanworth.
The third and fourth seeds will come from Adrigole, junior champions Boherbue, Gabriel Rangers, Ballinora, Glanmire, Glenville, Kildorrery, and St Finbarr’s second string.
One of the stand-out possibilities in the premier senior draw is a genuine Group of Death involving the Barrs, the Haven, Nemo and Carbery Rangers, though, obviously, that remains to be seen until the groups become known.
The leagues, which will be sponsored by Cork Credit Unions, have been restructured and divided into Groups 1A and 1B, 2A and 2B, 3A and 3B for the new season, which is expected to start in February.
Teams were allocated based primarily on their finishing league positions in 2019 and secondly on their championship status for 2022.
Groups 1A and 1B are of the same standard, for example, and are evenly graded.
Group 1A has the Barrs, the Haven, Ballincollig, Mallow, Kiskeam, St Michael’s, Éire Óg, Newcestown, Ballingeary, and Fermoy; Clon, Nemo, Carbery Rangers, Cill na Martra, O’Donovan Rossa, Douglas, Valleys, Carrigaline, Clyda Rovers, and Ilen make up Group 1B.
Teams in Division 2A are Newmarket, Dohenys, Bandon, Nemo, Rockchapel, Macroom, Bantry, St Vincent’s, Glanworth and Ballydesmond.
In Division 2B are Kanturk, Knocknagree, Naomh Aban, Aghada, Castletownbere, Bishopstown, Na Piarsaigh, Aghabullogue, Mitchelstown, and Dromtarriffe.
The following teams make up Division 3A: Gabriel Rangers, Kinsale, Iveleary, Kilshannig, Glanmire, Adrigole, Kildorrery and Grenagh.
Division 3B contains Glenville, Mayfield, St Nick’s, Millstreet, Barrs, Ballinora and Boherbue.
In the play-offs, the top team in each section will meet the runners-up in the corresponding group with the exception in Division 3, where the best second-placed team will join the three group winners.
Promotion and relegation return in 2022 with the bottom clubs in the two groups dropping down and replaced by the Division 2 finalists, for example, in the case of division 1.
Division winners receive €1,000 with €500 for the runners-up and €250 for the semi-finalists.