East Cork Football Championship Action Gets Underway

East Cork Football Championship Action Gets Underway

Bride Rovers celebrate following their victory over Cobh in Sunday's Michael O'Connor Motor Factors East Cork Junior 'A' Grade Football Championship Final.

CHAMPIONSHIP bells will toll this weekend in East Cork as it's the opening round of action in the Michael O'Connor Motor Factors Junior 'A' Grade Football Championship. 

Twelve clubs will chase the coveted silverware with four teams in each of three groups initially battling for places in the knockout stages.

In what looks like a very competitive championship, it appears they are no easy games for any club, with several teams on the potential shortlist for outright success before a ball is kicked in anger.

Champions Bride Rovers have Cloyne, Glenbower Rovers and Agahda for company in group 1. 

2021 runners up Cobh will engage Midleton, Carrigtwohill and Castlemartyr in group 2 whilst Lisgoold, Erin's Own, Carraig na bhFear and Youghal will contest honours in group 3. 

The round robin series of games in all groups will take place over the next few weeks so it is a pretty testing schedule for all involved. 

By mid July there will be six survivors to progress to the latter stages.

Appropriately it's defending champions Bride Rovers who feature in the opening fixture of the campaign. 

They engage Cloyne in Lisgoold on this Friday evening (8pm) hoping to continue their top form of last season, which saw them eliminate a number of fancied sides on the way to getting the better of Cobh in the decider. 

Rovers, however, fell to a heavy league defeat recently to that same Cobh side, so the Rathcormac men will be hoping for a much improved hour. Cloyne got the better of St Catherine's in their most recent JFL 2 outing, having lost to Castlemartyr in their previous match and their challenge will be led by Paudie O'Sullivan.

Castlemartyr themselves have been going well in the league second tier, but will face their toughest hour of the season when they engage familiar championship rivals Carrigtowhill yet again in one of two games taking place on Saturday. 

Carrig' have held the balance of power in the last few seasons, but will need to up their scoring return of just 1-3 in their recent league outing against Carraig na bhFear. Killeagh's Pairc Ui Chinnéide plays host to this encounter.

Also on Saturday Carraig na bhFear will be back in action and Youghal in their group 3 clash in Castlelyons. 

The seasiders posted a narrow league win over Midleton last time out and will be hoping to be in the mix again at this level having come down from intermediate ranks a few seasons back, whilst Carraig always prove testing championship opponents. 

They have four league wins in seven games this season.

Next up is the group 2 Sunday afternoon encounter between 2020 champions Midleton and Cobh. 

A tough game to call - both sides have real potential to go a long way in this competition. 

This could be a defining fixture as the winners will make an early statement in what looks like a difficult group to negotiate. 

Cobh have been the real form team in the league so far, topping division 1 with five wins and two draws from seven games and thus will be brimful of confidence.

On next Monday evening in Dungourney it's the meeting of Lisgoold and 2019 kingpins Erin's Own. 

The Caherlag men who are operating in JFL 2 had a runaway win over neighbours Glanmire recently and under the guidance of Pat Fitzgerald are coming into form at the right time. 

On the other hand Lisgoold have really caught the eye in JFL 1. After seven games in the competition they have amassed ten points and are thus Cobh's nearest pursuers at the summit.

Youghal is the setting for the concluding game in the first series of fixtures as Glenbower Rovers and Aghada make the journey to the eastern boundary also on Monday. 

The Killeagh outfit completed a three in a row success in this competition in 2014, but have been going poorly in the league with only win from six league games in the top flight. 

They will be hoping it will come right on championship night against Aghada's second string who should feature some promising young players as part of the club's second fifteen.

This Wednesday evening the East Cork Board will officially launch the championship in Carrigtwohill where officials will be joined by representatives from each of the twelve competing teams. 

The occasion will also mark the launch of the division's brand new website which will be up and running in time to keep pace with promises to be a hectic summer of championship action.

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