FOLLOWING the recent delay to the return to football after the Christmas break due to the Covid pandemic, the New Year gets underway next weekend.
The scramble for trophies begins with league, Mooney Cup and divisional cups up for grabs in what promises to be a campaign full of promise and intrigue.
In the premier champions Doolan’s Cow look favourites to capture their fourth success in seven seasons after their recent big win over leaders Satellite Taxis at Mayfield Community School.
The win took them clear into second ahead of UCC Utd. on twenty-four points with three matches in hand over Taxis. The win leaves them just three points behind their opponents. Doolan’s are the only unbeaten team in the division having scored an impressive thirty-three in their eight matches to date and only conceded one in the win over District 11.
Having already secured the shield, they are poised to repeat their magnificent feat of 2017 by winning all four domestic trophies to become the first team to do so twice.
However, Satellite, UCC, four time winners Marlboro Trust and Martin Harvey Solicitors are well capable of launching a title bid with some teams still having as many as ten matches still to be play.
At the opposite end of the table, promoted Harp Celtic and District 11 will need to kick start their campaigns quickly to avoid being cut adrift and face impending relegation. SCS Crookstown United picked up a valuable win over Jason O’Neill Electrical before the Christmas break to pull two points clear of the drop.
Tim Irwin’s charges are slowly getting back to full strength after suffering the loss of many key players earlier in the season due to GAA commitments. OBS, Healy O’Connor Solicitors and JONE will be looking to bridge the gap on fifth-placed MHS while concentrating on making progress in the cup competitions.
Six teams are fighting it out for honours in the first division with all but Jay Bazz having played past the half way mark already. Leader s Lion’s Den continue to lead the way as they have done from the early days of the campaign.
They currently enjoy a three point cushion over Brew Boys who have a match in hand.
The teams drew 2-2 when they met back on Sunday, October 24th at Castlelyons and so their up and coming duel at Mayfield Park could go a long way in deciding the destination of the championship.
Daz Barbers, back in third, can’t afford another defeat, having lost four times already but with four of the top six to play, Arainn McGrath’s title contenders can still harbour hopes of a top two finish and ultimately promotion. Longboats have been clinging on to the coat tails of the leaders from the beginning and but for having shipped five draws in their fifteen matches to date, could have been right up with the leaders.
Co. Council, back in fifth, needed to make up ground from the very start after losing three early fixtures to Lion’s Den, Daz Barbers and Jay Bazz respectfully. In the intervening weeks, Tony Byrd’s pre-season title favourites have strung together a fine run, aided in no small measure by the goals of top scorer Mario Fosca who has been in scintillating form whenever he plays.
Council still have five of the top six to play, including Lion’s Den, and won’t be far off the mark at the finish. Jay Bazz are another side looking to impress in the New Year but will have to pick up wins from the off if they are to realistically land a first title success.
The Mooney Cup has a habit of throwing up a shock or two along the way with 2016 and 2017 winners Doolan’s Cow the team to beat once again. Satellite Taxis, UCC United and Marlboro Trust have the pedigree to reach the final while Martin Harvey Solicitors, OBS and right down to Crookstown United can concentrate on a good cup run with no relegation fears to worry about.
The top five in the first division, Lion’s Den, Brew Boys, Daz Barbers, Longboats and Co. Council would fancy themselves at home against any opposition and would be a potential banana skin for any side in the top flight.
The Jackie O’Driscoll Premier Cup could be won by any team in the division while the Frank Linehan First Division Cup is likely to have a new winner to round off another memorable season in what has been an extraordinary time for football at national and local level.
FOOT-NOTE : The close knit community of the Cork Business League was saddened to hear of the recent passing of former Postal Workers’ secretary and long time supporter Jim Tobin.
Jim was an active committee member during the club’s last Mooney Cup win over AIB in 1995 following a replay and the club’s final premier league success in 2001/02. His son Stephen was a member of the squad during the same period. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Friday, January 21st
Sports Gear Direct Premier Division Marlboro Trust v Satellite Taxis, Mayfield Community School, 7.30pm (Gordon O’Leary)
Saturday, January 22nd
Sports Gear Direct Premier Division Harp Celtic v District 11, Mayfield Pk., 2pm (Jim Hennessy)
Sunday, January 23rd
Sports Gear Direct First Division Trend Micro v Jay Bazz, Mayfield Pk., 10.45am (Yves Kriwan) Cork Hospitals v VIP Barbers, The Farm, 10.45am (Ken O’Driscoll) Brew Boys v Co. Council, Castlelyons, 10.45am (Gordon O’Leary) Suro Cars v The Weigh Inn Dripsey, Mayfield Pk., 10.45am (Grahame Duffy) Daz Barbers v Longboats, Mayfield Community School, 2pm (Ken O’Driscoll) Telus International v Lion’s Den, G.A.C.A. Grds., Glanmire, 2.30pm (Gordon O’Leary) Sports Gear Direct Premier Division Healy O’Connor Solicitors v OBS, Garryduff, 10.45am (Brendan Dowling) Martin Harvey Solicitors v Jason O’Neill Electrical, Ringmahon Pk., 2pm (Grahame Duffy)