WITH six of the tem teams having already played two games in this the East Cork Oil divisional junior 'A' grade hurling championship in East Cork, there are several signals of form emerging.
Cobh, who top Group 2, are the only team to have won both their matches so far and look in a strong position for qualification at this stage. Carraig na bhFear and Erin's Own, who were also fancied to have good campaigns, are bracketed on three points each at the top of group A following their exciting draw.
But with six sides surviving to the knockout stages there will be intense competition over the next few weeks to see who makes the two semi final places and the four available quarter final slots.
After reaching the Final last year, where they lost to St Ita's, Erin's Own have again made an early statement of their intentions to be involved again at the business end of the championship.
The Caherlag club have two very good wins behind them in the County Premier senior championship and the feel good factor is also currently very evident in the second string.
They followed up that good quality opening day Group 1 draw with Carraig na bhFear, by accounting for Fr O'Neill's with 12 points to spare in their second match. Next challenge is against Watergrasshill on Sunday week.
For their part "The Hill '' lost 2-17 to 0-10 to Carraig na bhFear, so they will need to produce a big performance to get their opening points.
Killeagh are the other team in Group A and they could certainly have a big say in matters.
They posted an 0-18 to 0-15 win over Fr O'Neill's in their only outing thus far and now face up to Carraig na bhFear on Sunday week.
Thereafter Erin's Own and Watergrasshill will provide the opposition in their concluding games.
Right now it looks as if Erin's Own and Carraig na bhFear are the favoured contenders to take that direct path to the last four as potential group winners.
Cobh's wins over St Ita's and Sarsfields have put them in a position of authority in Group 2, where their destiny is in their own hands in terms of that other automatic semi final place.
A narrow win over champions St Ita's was key first time out and when they followed up within seven days to defeat Sarsfield's by 3-12 to 1-14 the journey to the last four became a lot shorter.
Now they face a key match on Saturday week against a Midleton side who defeated Carrigtwohill in their only fixture so far.
As for the champions St Ita's they too are very much in the mix.
A one point reversal to Cobh was quickly followed up by a two points win over Carrigtwohill (4-14 to 2-18) in another exciting hour.
St Ita's now engage Sarsfield's on Sunday week in a crunch game for their season. At the bottom Carrigtwohill's two losses means anything but a win will take them out of the equation.