Douglas will miss Cork ace Sean Powter for championship opener

Trip to play in Chicago will rule out the brilliant attacking defender for the clash with Valley Rovers
Douglas will miss Cork ace Sean Powter for championship opener

Douglas' Sean Powter wins the ball from Valley Rovers' William Hurley during the Bon Secours Cork SFC at Carrigaline. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE exodus has returned. Covid interrupted students’ travel plans in the past couple of years, but the appeal of the US and Canada is proving too irresistible once more.

News of Cork and Douglas star Sean Powter heading to play in Chicago has increased awareness ahead of the opening shots in the club championship in three weeks.

Word has it that the dynamic utility player will miss Douglas’s opening game in the Bon Secours Premier Senior Football Championship against Valley Rovers in Ballygarvan on the 24th, but is expected to be available for the other group matches against Ballincollig and Mallow.

It’s a blow to last season’s semi-finalists, who will be considerably under-resourced in that fellow county players, Kevin Flahive and Brian Hartnett, will also be absent for different reasons.

Flahive is recovering from surgery on a cruciate knee injury sustained in the Munster semi-final defeat by Kerry while Hartnett, whose season has been plagued with hamstring problems, has also ventured across the Atlantic.

The city club aren’t the only ones impacted and this will become apparent in the coming weeks.

While some clubs scratch their heads in trying to plug the gaps, others are benefitting from their players lining out with their divisions as highlighted in the outstanding Avondhu-Imokilly game in Ballynoe on Thursday night.

The north Cork representatives squeezed through to the preliminary final of the Divisions/Colleges section with a hard-earned 2-15 to 1-17 victory to set-up a decider with Carbery next Thursday.

The prize on offer there is a semi-final in the same category along with Duhallow, UCC and MTU Cork Campus with the surviving side advancing to the quarter-finals of the championship proper.

Imokilly's Cian Spriggs is tackled by Avondhu's Jamie O'Gorman. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Imokilly's Cian Spriggs is tackled by Avondhu's Jamie O'Gorman. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Take Kilshannig as an example. They begin their quest for county intermediate honours against Ballydesmond with a team, which had four starters against Imokilly.

Full-back Eoghan Burke, centre-back Brian Guerin and the Twomeys, Kieran and Jack, on the flanks in the half-forward line, all made significant contributions to the victory.

Kieran kicked three points from play, one in the first-half for a 1-6 to 0-5 lead and, crucially, the others came in a hectic finale, his second helping Avondhu to what looked like a comfortable run-in at 1-13 to 0-10 after 50 minutes.

Six minutes later Twomey added his third to stretch the advantage to seven points, 2-14 to 0-13, following a goal from Mitchelstown’s Sean O’Sullivan, and Imokilly appeared beaten.

The Town, who begin with a tough tie in the same grade against Millstreet, supplied two other key figures in magnificent midfielder Sean Walsh, whose energic running was one of the game’s highlights, and defender Killian Roche.

Walsh decorated his eye-catching display with three points, two of them straight from the top drawer.

Kildorrery, who are also competing in the intermediate championship, are sure to reap the rewards of defenders Will Fuohy and Jamie O’Gorman’s involvement while Dylan Kent was introduced off the bench.

Buttevant’s Mark Linehan scored two goals after an early substitute’s appearance in the first round against Beara and he’ll be wondering how he didn’t repeat the feat.

Avondhu netted twice, but missed a handful of other opportunities with the impressive full-forward thwarted by a defender’s clearance off the goal-line and then screwing another shot wide.

Imokilly deserve huge credit for their contribution to a terrific contest with their final tally of 1-17 winning most matches, but not on this occasion.

The east Cork representatives bounced back from their defeat by Carbery and showed clearly the body of work that has gone in to their preparation, notably on their kick-out, which was almost a 100% success.

Despite trailing by seven points with only four minutes’ regulation time remaining, Imokilly’s spirit was evident in outscoring their opponents 1-4 to 0-1 in the remainder.

Midleton’s Cormac Beausang re-ignited their challenge with a superb goal before Aghada’s Danny Creedon added 0-3, two from play, entering stoppage time.

Clubmate Pearse O’Neill made it a one-point game in the third minute of added-on time, but the clock ran out on their commendable efforts.

Still, clubs like Aghada, who meet the Bantry Blues in premier intermediate, will benefit after having eight players on duty with intermediate side Glanmire also represented.

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