RedFM Hurling League preview: Kanturk and Charleville battle for supremacy

Last two SAHC winners have enjoyed strong starts in Division 1 Group B
RedFM Hurling League preview: Kanturk and Charleville battle for supremacy

Jack O'Callaghan of Charleville in action against Kanturk's Aidan Walsh in the 2020 Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC semi-final in Mallow. Picture: Larry Cummins.

With this weekend representing Cork’s ‘bye week’ in the Munster SHC, attention will be on domestic action as the RedFM Hurling League moves towards its fourth round of fixtures.

Action gets going tonight with a local derby in Group B of Division 1 as Erin’s Own welcome neighbours Sarsfields to Glounthaune.

Sars are currently in second place in the table behind Kanturk after taking five points from a possible six, with new recruit Shane O’Regan having settled in well after his transfer from Watergrasshill. However, they will come up against unbeaten opposition in Erin’s Own, who sit in the group of three teams in third place after winning the two matches they have played so far. Oran O’Regan, Stephen Cronin, Kieran Murphy and Brian Ramsey have been among the players who have done well in the wins over Glen Rovers and Bride Rovers.

Tomorrow night in Carrigtwohill sees a battle of blue and gold as Carrigtwohill welcome St Finbarr’s. While Carrig lost their last game against Sars, Liam Gosnell had impressed in wins over Bride and Ballymartle. The Barrs are still looking for their first win, suffering due to having quite a few players on the Cork senior and U20 panels.

On Friday, the Rovers of Glen and Bride clash, with Bride the only side apart from Ballymartle still seeking their first points.

Charleville and Kanturk are the two most recent additions to the Premier SHC grade – they met in the 2020 SAHC semi-finals, with Charleville winning and going on to take the second-tier title before their Duhallow rivals followed suit in 2021 – and both have had good starts to the league.
Kanturk’s win over the Glen last time out moved them to the top of the table with three wins from three, while Charleville are in a share of third following their win away to the Barrs. Dr Mannix Sportsfield in Charleville will be the venue for their meeting on Sunday at 12 noon. Tim Hawe and Andrew Cagney netted for the North Cork side in their win in Togher while Kanturk’s stars against the Glen included Lorcán McLoughlin, Ryan Walsh and Lorcan O’Neill. Also on Sunday, Mallow (one win from three) take on Ballymartle (two defeats from two).

In Group A, Douglas will look to make it four wins from four on Friday night when they make the short journey to face Bishopstown. Mark O’Connor and Brian Turnbull have been in good attacking form for Douglas but the Town ran county champions Midleton close in their last outing – James Scally and Thomas Murray with the goals in a 2-24 to 2-20 defeat – and they will be keen to pick up their first points of the campaign.

The Bishopstown game was Midleton’s first win and they will look to keep up their momentum in Saturday’s East Cork derby away to Fr O’Neills, but the senior A side have won two out of three so far. The returning Declan Dalton is a huge boost for the Ballymacoda/Ladysbridge side while Paudie McMahon has done well, too. Aaron Mulcahy and Garan Manley were to the fore in the Magpies’ win over the Town.

There are two games on Sunday at 12 noon, with Killeagh hosting Blackrock – the visitors are level on top with Douglas on six points while the hosts have three – and Newtownshandrum take on Newcestown. Both sides have each won one game and lost two so far.

At the end of the league, the top five teams in Groups A and B will form the new ten-team Division 1, with the bottom five in each going into Division 2. Similarly, Division 2 Group A and Group B will be the source for the new Division 3 and Division 4.

Currently, Carrigaline top Division 2 Group A with three wins from three and their next assignment is away to fellow south-east side Courcey Rovers in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday at 12 noon. Courceys, last year’s Premier IHC champions, are just a point behind Carrigaline after winning two and drawing one of their three games.

The lead in Group B is shared by Éire Óg and Valley Rovers, each with maximum points after three outings. Tomorrow night, Valleys are away to Castlelyons, with the beaten PIHC finalists having experienced three losses to date, while on Sunday Éire Óg take on Cloyne, who have won one, drawn one and lost one up to now.

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