ST MICHAEL’S once again showed impressive levels of resilience and true grit in making a winning start to their Bon Secours county SAFC campaign at the weekend.
For the second successive season, the Mahon club are pitted in the same section as Knocknagree and city rivals Bishopstown with Fermoy the other side in a very competitive Group C.
Last season Michael’s faced Knocknagree in their concluding game in the section, having recorded wins over the Town and Kiskeam, and a 1-10 to 0-8 victory earned a semi-final spot.
There was ultimate disappointing in the final, where Mallow edged a tight decider by 2-12 to 0-15, the goals proving the difference as Michael’s, again, just came up short on the big day.
They’re back on the horse for another crack at winning that elusive title and their 2-12 to 2-9 round 1 win over Knocknagree was just the tonic they required.
Michael’s haven’t been slow in giving youth a chance either, starting a couple of players from last season’s Cork minor team, which won Munster.
Ruairi O’Shaughnessy captained that side from midfield and was included in the half-forward line against the Duhallow club alongside Luke O’Hanlon, the other county minor, who was centre-forward.
They blended finely with the more established players like Daniel Meaney, Eric and Keith Hegarty, Martin Burke, Joe Golden, Adam Hennessy and others.
A couple of early goals from Hennessy during a wind-assisted first-half left Michael’s 2-3 to 0-1 in front after the opening quarter against a Knocknagree side impacted by injuries.
They eventually settled to trail by just four points at the interval, 2-5 to 1-4, but Michael’s summoned all their experience and know-how to keep the scoreboard ticking along after the change of ends.
Although their winning margin was three points at the finish, Michael’s conceded a late 1-1 to make it seem tighter than it actually was as Hennessy finished with 2-2 and Eric Hegarty 0-5, four from play.
Next up is a meeting Fermoy, who overcame Bishopstown, in Watergrasshill, where victory would almost certainly clinch a place in the knock-out phase.
Dohenys and Ballingeary were the other semi-finalists last year, the Dunmanway club losing to Michael’s after extra-time and Ballingeary conceding four goals to Mallow.
They find themselves in the same group this season and began with an exciting draw in a section also containing Kiskeam and Bandon with the Duhallow earning a one-goal victory in that encounter.
Clyda Rovers also made it through to the play-offs in 2021, losing to Ballingeary by four points, and they started with an encouraging 1-13 to 1-12 win over Ilen Rovers, who were relegated from premier senior last season.
The presence of O’Donovan Rossa and premier intermediate champions Newmarket illustrates the highly competitive nature of the championship though the newcomers found life against Skibbereen very difficult.
Newmarket now face Clyda in their next assignment in Kanturk.
Meanwhile, Adrigole host the inaugural Aidan Cremin 7-a-side tournament tomorrow as part of the club’s festival.
Teams from Beara and beyond compete in a tournament held in the memory of the popular Kerry Garda, who died suddenly in January last year.
Aidan was stationed in the Beara Peninsula since 2007 and the Beaufort-native made a huge impact and an invaluable contribution to various clubs and organisations.
He transferred to Adrigole as an intermediate player in 2008 after immediately immersing himself in under-age coaching before getting involved with Beara teams and Cork development squads until his untimely passing.
Aida was also heavily involved in the club’s festival, bringing made ideas to the table and it’s fitting the tournament will be held over the festival weekend.
The tournament starts at 6.30 and details can be found at www.adrigole.com.
SAFC Group A: FIXTURES: August 12: Clyda Rovers v Newmarket, Kanturk, 7.30. August 14: Ilen Rovers v O’Donovan Rossa, Castlehaven, 2pm.
RESULTS: Newmarket 1-10 O’Donovan Rossa 3-16; Ilen Rovers 1-12 Clyda Rovers 1-13.
Group B: FIXTURES: August 12: Dohenys v Bandon, Ballinacarriga, 7.30; Ballingeary v Kiskeam, Macroom, 4pm.
RESULTS: Bandon 0-10 Kiskeam 1-10; Ballingeary 0-13 Dohenys 1-10.
Group C: FIXTURES: August 13: St Michael’s v Fermoy, Watergrasshill, 4pm. August 14: Knocknagree v Bishopstown, Mallow, 2pm.
RESULTS: St Michael’s 2-12 Knocknagree 2-9; Bishopstown 2-6 Fermoy 0-16.