Cork's big three clubs make winning starts to the new league season

County champions and league title holders, St Finbarr's, were joined by Nemo Rangers and Castlehaven in opening day victories
Cork's big three clubs make winning starts to the new league season

Denis O'Brien, in action here against Austin Stacks in the Munster Club final, scored a penalty in the opening league win over Eire Og.

COUNTY champions St Finbarr’s were part of the big three to make winning starts to the Cork Credit Union leagues at the weekend.

Nemo Rangers and Castlehaven were also successful in games that were dress rehearsals for the opening shots in the Bon Secours Championship in July.

The ’Barr’s pipped Eire Og by a point in a repeat of last season’s exciting county quarter-final, edging it by 3-5 to 0-13.

Corner-forward Ben Grogan chipped in with a goal in each half to add to Denis O’Brien’s penalty in the opening period.

Of course, like all clubs with representatives in the Cork set-up, the holders fielded without Ian Maguire, Steven Sherlock, Billy Hennessy and Brian Hayes while the Ovens club were missing injured keeper Chris Kelly, defender John Cooper and attacker Colm O’Callaghan.

Nemo had seven points to spare from last season’s beaten finalists Clonakilty in a goal-less encounter in Trabeg, the city side winning by 0-10 to 0-7 with youngsters Ross Corkery and Conor Horgan joining the experienced Luke Connolly in providing the bulk of the scores.

The Haven repeated their championship victory over Newcestown from 2021 by having seven points to spare in a 1-14 to 0-10 victory.

The ’Barr’s and the Haven are in division 1A, where there were wins for Ballincollig, Fermoy and Kiskeam.

The leading five clubs at the end of the nine-game schedule will form part of division 1 next season, when they will be joined by five more from division 1B.

There, a cracking goal from Eoin Delaney helped Valley Rovers to a 1-8 to 0-7 win over Douglas with Fiachra Lynch also catching the eye while Adam Cantwell and Sean Wilson impressed for Douglas.

Carrigaline’s penchant for late goals continued into the new season with Darragh King’s effort helping them to a 0-9 to 1-6 draw with Carbery Rangers.

Clyda Rovers edged Ilen Rovers by a point while the O’Donovan Rossa-Cill na Martra game was postponed.

Newmarket, last year’s premier intermediate champions, registered a big win over Duhallow rivals Ballydesmond with Conor O’Keeffe among the goals in a 3-12 to 0-8 triumph in division 2A.

Bantry Blues, relegated from senior A last season, signalled their intentions of bouncing back by firing six goals past Glanworth while Macroom posted an impressive 0-17 against Rockchapel.

Two teams who experienced the bitter taste of defeat in county finals last year also began on a positive note.

Kanturk, who lost at the death to Newmarket, scored 4-13 against Naomh Aban while Mitchelstown, who became the latest Iveleary victims, claimed 3-8 against Castletownbere.

Aghada were also in goal-scoring mood in compiling 3-16 against Na Piarsaigh with Diarmui Byrne pulling the strings in that one.

Bishopstown found Knocknagree too much of a handful going down by double scores.

Meanwhile, Cork U20s responded to the heavy defeat by Kerry in their opening John Kerins Cup Group 2 game by winning away to Galway by 1-12 to 0-13 at the weekend.

While the game was a dead rubber because Kerry had already qualified for the final against Dublin, after also overcoming Galway, it was still a useful run out ahead of next month’s Munster championship semi-final against the winners of the Limerick-Waterford game.

What was interesting about the composition of the panels for both games was the absence of any player from the city strongholds with no Nemo, ’Barr’s, Douglas or St Michael’s representatives.

The competition is labelled ‘development’ so that may have been part of management’s thinking and, no doubt, injuries would also be a factor.

RESULTS: Cork Credit Union Leagues: Division 1A: Castlehaven 1-14 Newcestown 0-10; Eire Og 0-13 St Finbarr’s 3-5; St Michael’s 0-9 Fermoy 2-12; Kiskeam 1-12 Ballingeary 1-10; Ballincollig 1-9 Mallow 0-7.

Division 1B: Carbery Rangers 0-9 Carrigaline 1-6; O’Donovan Rossa P Cill na Martra P; Nemo Rangers 0-10 Clonakilty 0-3; Douglas 0-7 Valley Rovers 1-8; Ilen Rovers 0-8 Clyda Rovers 0-9.

Division 2A: Newmarket 3-12 Ballydesmond 0-8, Macroom 0-17 Rockchapel 1-7; Nemo Rangers 1-9 St Vincent’s 1-8; Bandon 0-9 Dohenys 0-9; Bantry Blues 6-14 Glanworth 1-8.

Division 2B: Kanturk 4-13 Naomh Aban 2-9; Mitchelstown 3-8 Castletownbere 0-9; Aghada 3-16 Na Piarsaigh 0-10; Aghabullogue 4-13 Dromtarriffe 2-12; Knocknagree 0-16 Bishopstown 0-8.

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