THE opening weekend of the hurling championship season on Leeside was a bit of a mix.
There were plenty of very positive performances from a couple of teams, but others didn’t make the desired impact.
Some of the games provided plenty of entertainment, there was some late drama in a couple of them, but other encounters failed to fire.
Things are still very much at the infancy stage, but for the teams who failed to secure anything last weekend, the pressure is really on now. A second loss and the knockout stages are probably beyond them.
One of the more interesting games on the menu this weekend is the all-city collision of Bishopstown and the Glen.
Despite losing their opener to Erin’s Own, the northside team will be fancied to secure the bragging rights but they will be facing a Bishopstown side that will be full of confidence after their splendid victory over Na Piarsaigh.
This observer went along to Páirc Uí Rinn to check out those two teams and while it might have been a bit mundane early on, with Na Piarsaigh firmly in control of the proceedings, the final quarter of an hour provided lots of entertainment.
The Town subsequently took the two precious points on offer, doing so with a man less after having a player red-carded and that made the victory all the more meritorious.
There hasn’t been a great deal to get excited about there in recent times and they remain outsiders, but this was a victory to savour.
At one stage they were eight points in arrears and that would have been a lot more if it wasn’t for the heroics of Ken O’Halloran in goal. He is one of the club’s great servants as is Pa Cronin who was hugely instrumental in getting them back into contention. Some of his points, both from open play and from the dead ball, were sublime and he certainly led by example.
Another who really caught the eye was newcomer Pearse Morris from Tipperary. He’s a brother of Tipp star Jake and he made a huge contribution.
One must also mention the likes of Tomás and Brian Murray and Diarmuid Lester, all great club servants too. Nobody knows what this weekend holds in store, but credit where it’s due, they showed huge resilience.
The Glen will have noted the Town’s victory and they certainly will not be complacent after their loss to Erin’s Own. For Na Piarsaigh, they must get the loss out of their system very quickly as they face the Caherlag team. Of course, it must be stated that they were without key players, Chris Joyce and Daire Connery against the Town.
Staying with teams in the city, the headline clash this weekend is the meeting of the Rockies and the Barrs.
Long gone are the days when these two brought 30,000 souls into the old Athletic Grounds but any championship clash still generates plenty of interest.
Both got something out of last weekend, a point for the Barrs against Charleville and two for the Rockies against Sars. In both, late scores decided the outcome. The Church Road team will carry the favourite’s tag here, but this might still be one of the games of the weekend.
The Senior A Championship provided plenty of talking points, especially where Fr O’Neill’s and Bride Rovers were concerned.
In fact, across the grades they were two of the most impressive winners, sharing eight goals between them, three for O’Neill’s and five for a very young Rovers team.
There was a lot of focus on Fr O’Neill’s Deccie Dalton against Blarney and he certainly delivered with a handsome return of 1-10.
A continuation of that fine form and he’ll be figuring prominently in the Cork plans for next season under new boss Pat Ryan.
Billy Dunne was in dazzling form too for O’Neill’s, delivering a brace of goals and four points from play as they signalled their early season intent.
All East Cork derbies carry an uncertain tag but that wasn’t the case with Bride Rovers and Carrigtwohill.
The Rathcormac team were quite superb in their victory and, similar to O’Neill’s issued a very strong opening statement. Of course, it’s very early days yet, but a good start might well prove to be half the battle.
In this championship, the early signs would seem to suggest that there are four, five, maybe six teams who should be very much in the mix.
The importance of this hurling weekend cannot be emphasised enough.
And just a few of the big questions to be answered: Can Midleton be a lot better against Newtown than they were against Douglas? Can the latter back up that great win against Kanturk? Who will emerge from the clash of Courcey Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s?
So much on the line and so much to look forward to.