CHAMPIONS Bride Rovers, who were without several regulars, suffered a seven-point defeat to Cloyne in the first game of their defence of the Michael O'Connor Motor Factors East Cork JAFC last weekend.
Conditions were miserable in Lisgoold where Cloyne were deserving winners by 1-9 to 0-5. At the break after a closely contested 30 minutes, Cloyne held a 1-3 to 0-3 advantage, in a match that was shaping up to be a low-scoring affair.
The all-important goal arrived after 24 minutes courtesy of Paudie O'Sullivan, who finished the match with a tally of 1-4. Mikey Cahill, Brian Walsh, Colm O'Sullivan, Ashley Walsh and Brían Minihane all raised white flags for the winners. The aforementioned Brian Walsh and Liam Sugrue were cornerstones in a very strong defensive unit that limited Bride Rovers to just one point from play.
Rovers will now have to produce a positive result when they take on Aghada on Friday week, while Cloyne will approach their game against Glenbower Rovers with plenty of belief after their very positive start to the championship. Aghada and Glenbower were due to meet in the other Group 1 encounter earlier this week.
In Group 2, Carrigtwohill and Castlemartyr were first into action on Saturday afternoon, on another day that proved very difficult for good football. Despite playing into the strong wind in the first half it was Castlemartyr, anchored well by Barra Ó Túama and James In defence, who settled better and after a very solid first half deservedly led by 0-4 to 0-2 at the interval.
Mike Kelly and Jack McGann registered frees whilst Dáire Coughlan and Eoin Cashman struck over excellent points from play. Carrig emerged from the dressing room in determined fashion and quickly regained parity through Adrian Browne and Padriac Hogan. McGann and Seamus Roche swapped points in what was turning out to be a real battle between two sides who are regular championship opponents.
When Sean de Búrca raised a green flag for Carrigtwohill on 51 minutes, it looked as if it could be the defining score. But Castlemartyr regrouped and Mike Kelly kept his nerve to slot home a penalty after 59 minutes, which was enough to share the spoils and send both teams home relatively happy from Killeagh.
2019 champions Midleton, faced up to inform Cobh in the second game of the Group 2 24 hours later in Carrigtwohill. Cobh were in control from the off and led by 0-7 to 0-0 at the interval. They stretched that margin to nine points by the end of the hour, winning by 1-10 to 0-4. Diarmuid Kearney and Cian Spriggs were to the fore in this win that saw the harbour town team take early control of this group. Next up for them is a meeting with Castlemartyr.
In Group 3 a strong second-half show by Carraig na bhFear saw them run out impressive winners by 1-16 to 2-5 against Youghal in Castlelyons. It was all square at the halfway mark after Alan Frahill and Enda Cronin both scored Youghal goals as they retired with 2-5 on the board in response to 0-9 for the opposition.
However, the balance of power was weighed very much in Carraig na bhFear's favour after the resumption. Timmy Geaney, David Sweeney, James Forde and Paul Sheehan were all in top form for the winners, who sealed a good day's work with a goal in the closing minutes from Colm Murphy.
On Sunday evening Lisgoold and Erin's Own met in the other Group 3 clash in Dungourney. The Caherlag side led 0-4 to 0-2 at the short whistle but were rocked back on their heels by two second-half Lisgoold goals. Mark Hegarty and John Cashman with a long ranger get the credits whilst former Ballydesmond man Shaun Murphy made a good impression in defence. A late Erin's Own goal came too late to alter the destination of this brace of points on the table as Lisgoold won by 2-7 to 1-8.
The championship continues with all teams back into action on the weekend of July 9/10, with the final series of group games set to be played on the following weekend.
Meantime, some of the players who were in action last weekend will be involved with the Imokilly senior footballers as they engage Avondhu in their second game of this year's Colleges/Divisions section tomorrow evening. Imokilly battled bravely against Carberry in Ballincollig a few weeks back and now face another tough challenge against the North Cork side.