Mallow join the big boys in the knock-out phase of the county PSFC

Last season's senior A champions are through to the quarter-finals with a game to spare
Mallow join the big boys in the knock-out phase of the county PSFC

14th August 2022 St Finbarrs's Brian Hayes shoots past Carrigaline's Nathan O'Keeffe during the Bon Secours Cork premier SFC at Pairc Ui Rinn. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

FOUR clubs have made it to the knock-out phase of the Bon Secours county PSFC with a round to spare.

They are the defending champions St Finbarr’s, rivals Nemo Rangers, Carbery Rangers and surprise packets Mallow.

The remaining two spots will be decided on Sunday, September 4, when the third and final round of group games will be played, all starting at 4pm.

Group A is already sorted in that respect with the ’Barr’s and Rosscarbery winning both their games against Eire Og and Carrigaline.

Bandon houses the ’Barr’s-Ross tie, which will determine the group winner, but the pressure will definitely be cranked up for the other game in Ballygarvan.

Eire Og, last season’s quarter-finalists, are out of the reckoning and are now involved in a fight to avoid finishing bottom and a possible relegation play-off.

The Ovens club have a better scoring difference and this will stand to them if the game ends in a draw.

Group B was the most wide-open of the three and it has produced unlikely leaders in the senior A champions Mallow, who overcame Ballincollig and Valley Rovers.

The north Cork side take on Douglas in their concluding game at Pairc Ui in the knowledge of having already secured their passage to the next stage.

Who accompanies them and who eventually props up the table, though, make for an intriguing climax.

Valleys are on two points with Douglas and the Village next on one point in that order, the city club with a marginally better scoring difference.

The Innishannon club need only avoid defeat to ’Collig in Kilmurry to book their quarter-final spot whereas the other pair must win.

Ballincollig and Douglas could leapfrog Valleys by winning and it would come down to scoring difference to separate them.

And there’s also the threat of the dreaded relegation decider hanging over all three though Valleys seem more secure.

Group C is also full of intrigue for west Cork’s finest, Castlehaven and Clonakilty, last season’s runners-up, but likely to miss out this year.

The Haven meet Newcestown for the third season running in Rossmore and while a draw would be enough to advance, they’ll want to bounce back from the Nemo defeat with a victory.

Clon have the daunting task of needing to defeat Nemo in Bandon and hope Newcestown can do them a favour by overcoming the Haven.

The likelihood, however, is that Clon and Newcestown will be striving to avoid being dragged into the relegation issue.

The format is the number one seeded team qualifying directly for the semi-finals and the next five advancing to the quarter-finals along with the winner of the divisions/colleges section.

If positions remain the same after round 3, which is remote in the extreme, then the rankings would be ’Barr’s, Mallow, Nemo, Carbery Rangers, Castlehaven and Valley Rovers.

It would result in quarter-finals of Mallow v divisions/colleges winner, Nemo v Valleys and Ross v the Haven and the relegation play-off would be between Carrigaline and Newcestown.

Scoring difference is sure to be a factor with the ’Barr’s on +20, six more than Mallow and nine clear of Nemo in the quest for top seeds.

As for the bookies, they go 13/8 Nemo, 11/4 ’Barr’s and 4/1 the Haven in what they perceive as a three-horse race.

RESULTS: PSFC Group A: R1 St Finbarr’s 1-12 Eire Og 0-9; Carbery Rangers 2-10 Carrigaline 1-9.

R2 St Finbarr’s 3-19 Carrigaline 1-11; Eire Og 1-12 Carbery Rangers 2-11.

Table: 1. St Finbarr’s 4pts (+20), 2. Carbery Rangers 4 (+6), 3. Eire Og 0 (-9), 4. Carrigaline 0 (-18).

FIXTURES: SEPT 4: R3 (All 4pm): St Finbarr’s v Carbery Rangers, Ballinascarthy; Eire Og v Carrigaline, Ballygarvan.

Group B: R1 Valley Rovers 0-10 Douglas 1-6; Mallow 0-10 Ballincollig 0-6.

R2 Mallow 2-11 Valley Rovers 0-7; Douglas 0-16 Ballincollig 1-13.

Table: 1. Mallow 4 (+14), 2. Valley Rovers 2 (-9), 3. Douglas 1 (-1), 4. Ballincollig 1 (-4).

FIXTURES: Douglas v Mallow, Pairc Ui Rinn; Valley Rovers v Ballincollig, Kilmurry.

Group C: R1 Nemo Rangers 2-10 Newcestown 1-5; Castlehaven 0-10 Clonakilty 1-5.

R2 Nemo Rangers 3-13 Castlehaven 1-16; Clonakilty 0-12 Newcestown 1-9.

Table: 1. Nemo Rangers 4 (+11), 2. Castlehaven 2 (-1), 3. Clonakilty 1 (-2), 4. Newcestown 1 (-8).

FIXTURES: Clonakilty v Nemo Rangers, Bandon; Castlehaven v Newcestown, Rossmore.

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