IT’S down to the last group game in the Intermediate Championship and an important round for Cork as they bid to retain top spot and go straight to the semi-finals.
Derry are hot on their heels, level on points at the top of the table following last weekend’s victory over Cork, but they will need a win over a Wexford side also chasing a qualification place.
In addition, Kilkenny are still in the hunt for a top two place when they clash with Meath tomorrow.
Were Cork and Derry to lose and Kilkenny to win, it would leave Cork, Derry, Wexford, and Kilkenny on level points and then it would go to scoring difference; Cork are ahead on that front, but results would be crucial if this scenario were to unfold.
Cork will be confident of finishing on a winning note against Kildare in what is part of a double header with the seniors playing Tipperary.
Kildare have not enjoyed the best of championship campaigns, losing three games, but they did record a victory over Wexford and they will be hoping to get another win under their belts to finish their campaign on a high.
When the sides met in the league earlier in the year, Cork were 4-16 to 2-6 winners and given how well their championship campaign has been to date, one would expect Cork to have too much strength for a Kildare side that will be battling to avoid a relegation play-off.
Cork were disappointed to lose to Derry and are hoping to get back to winning ways tomorrow.
With no injury worries to report, manager Trevor Coleman knows it is in their own hands and they will be going in determined to top the group.
The bonus for winning the group is a direct route to a semi-final on July 16, while the second-placed team will contest a quarter final on July 9 and with the seniors already through to the semi-final, the intermediates would be hoping to do likewise.
Round two of the Tesco U16 championship and a must-win game for champions Cork as they head to Kilkenny for a meeting with the home side.
Having lost their opening game last weekend to a very focused Galway side, Cork are now under pressure to get the right result this weekend; anything else and they exit the championship. It’s Kilkenny’s first game and they will be looking for a good start, knowing a win would see them in a good place before they take on Galway the following week.
Last Sunday Cork had no answers when Galway applied the pressure; in the first half Cork matched them in all sectors, but a purple patch in the last quarter saw Galway grab three fast goals which Cork were unable to respond to.
While they will need to be much tighter at the back they also shot 11 wides and this is something Donie Daly and his backroom team will have worked on to get it right.