Imokilly GAA: Ex-Cork underage boss Denis Ring takes charge of divisional hurlers

John Cashman rounds up the recent league action from the East Cork division
Imokilly GAA: Ex-Cork underage boss Denis Ring takes charge of divisional hurlers

Former Cork minor and U20 manager Denis Ring has taken over the Imokilly hurlers. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

THERE is plenty of activity on the upcoming agenda in East Cork as local clubs continue to countdown to championship season in mid-summer.

Right now the focus is very much on leagues with the schedules progressing smoothly over the past few weeks.

In junior football, championship action is due to begin on the last weekend of June, with Bride Rovers beginning the season as title holders following their win over Cobh in last year’s decider. Rovers lost out narrowly (1-9 to 0-10) against Lisgoold recently in JFL 1. 

Prior to that, they had also lost a tight game away to Carrigtwohill by 2-9 to 1-9. However, they began the campaign however brightly with wins over Carraig na bhFear and Glenbower Rovers in what is a competitive-looking top-flight league grade in the Imokilly barony.

Mention of both Carrigtwohill and Glenbower Rovers – these two sides will certainly be hoping to have a say in championship matters later this summer. The two of them met last week in their most recent league fixture with the Killeagh side recording an eye-catching 3-14 to 1-8 win at Páirc Uí Chinneide.

Last year’s championship runners-up Cobh have also been busy. The harbour town side posted an encouraging 0-10 to 0-9 away win in Youghal, on the back of a share of points with Carrigtwohill. Cobh also ended all square with Midleton. Although they conceded four goals in that game, they showed their quality at the other end and had goal touch themselves when defeating Glenbower Rovers by 5-3 to 1-1 in their opening fixture.

Midleton for their part also began their campaign on a positive note edging home against Lisgoold in what was a historic fixture for the club played at their new Park South venue.

The Michael O’Connor Motor Factors Junior A grade championship promises plenty of close games. Bride Rovers will be favoured to negotiate group A where Cloyne, Aghada ad Glenbower Rovers potentially battling for the other knockout place. 

Group B looks particularly difficult to call as Cobh, Midleton and Carrigtwohill are joined by Castlemartyr, who are enjoying a fine run in the JFL 2 at the moment. In Group C it will probably also come down to the last games to decide the two qualifiers with Lisgoold, Erin’s Own, Carraig na bhFear and Youghal all having the capacity to make progress.

The commencement of the East Cork Oil Junior A Hurling Championship is bit further down the track. Carraig na bhFear and Cobh have certainly been in the early season eye-catchers in terms of league performances so far. They have won all 4 of their matches to jointly top JHL 1. 

Carrig hit a whopping 28 points in their 10-point success away to Midleton last time out to cement their standing. Earlier in the campaign, they had also defeated Sarsfields by 14 points. Cobh kept pace at the top by securing a brace of hard-earned points courtesy of a two points win in Killeagh last week, on the back of seven points home win over Midleton.

St Ita’s who won the Jamsey Kelleher Cup for the first time in 2021, will be hoping to hold on the silverware again. They have been slow starters in the current league as a 3-13 to 1-9 victory over Watergrasshill represents their only win from five outings. 

Imokilly's Seamus Harnedy. Picture: Eóin Noonan, Sportsfile
Imokilly's Seamus Harnedy. Picture: Eóin Noonan, Sportsfile

However, with Seamie Harnedy back for championship season, the Pilmore side will certainly be again one of the teams to beat. Cobh and Carraig na bhFear teams will be amongst the other principal contenders.

Elsewhere the Imokilly footballers have continued preparations for their return to the championship fold in 2022. 

Under manager Eoin O’Neill from Aghada, a number of training sessions have taken place, whilst some challenge games are also on the agenda. Imokilly will be hoping that they get back to being competitive at the highest level of Cork football over the next few years in what is a long-term project. The selectors have drafted a number of new young players into their panel.

In hurling the vastly experienced Denis Ring will be at the ahead of affairs. Ring has taken on what is a talented group of players and with the addition of some newcomers, there is no doubt the team are well capable of being in the mix again.

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