Cork GAA is ready for 2023

Clubs are now back training preparing for the 2023 season with all league and championship games mapped out. 
Cork GAA is ready for 2023

Jack Harrington, Inniscarra having his shot on goal blocked by Daragh Joyce and Ciaran Joyce of Castlemartyr in their Co-Op Superstores premier intermediate hurling championship final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture Dan Linehan

NO sooner was the 2022 Cork county championship season over and attention quickly turned to 2023 when the draws were made at the annual county convention at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. 

The clubs are now back training preparing for the 2023 season with all league and championship games mapped out. 

The Muskerry Division have a long list of victorious teams in the county championships and 2022 was no different, with Inniscarra claiming the PIHC, Kilmurry were the JAFC winners and Blarney won the JBFC, while Cloughduv came up short in the IAHC final, as did Aghabullogue in the IAFC decider.

Looking ahead to the championship, starting with the premier senior football, near neighbours Ballincollig and Éire Óg drawn in the same group is certainly a mouth-watering prospect. 

When the time comes around next September, both Mid-Cork clubs will hope they are still in contention heading into the last game between the two rivals, with defending champions Nemo Rangers and Carrigaline also in the group. 

Ballincollig and Éire Óg’s top adult teams last met in the hurling championship back in 2017, which drew the biggest crowd seen in Coachford in many years, when the Ovens side came out on top in the semi-final of the IHC. 

But, both first adult teams have never clashed in the football championship. 

They did meet in the league last season in Ovens for the first time at the same level, which ended in a draw. 

Coachford should be packed on Sunday September 10th at 4pm, but a lot of water will go under the bridge before then.

 Dan O'Connell, Inniscarra fighting for this breaking ball with Castlemartyr players Ciaran Joyce and James Lawton in their Co-Op Superstores premier intermediate hurling championship final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture Dan Linehan
Dan O'Connell, Inniscarra fighting for this breaking ball with Castlemartyr players Ciaran Joyce and James Lawton in their Co-Op Superstores premier intermediate hurling championship final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture Dan Linehan

In senior A football championship, Béal Áth’n Ghaorthaidh will be hoping to kick on from their quarter-final exit to Knocknagree in 2022, but it won’t be easy. 

The Gaeltacht side have been drawn with Clyda Rovers, Newmarket and Kiskeam. In PIFC, Group B is a tasty looking one from a Muskerry perspective, with three out of four teams from the Mid-Cork area. 

Bantry Blues, beaten finalists in 2022 are the odd one out, with Iveleary, Macroom and Naomh Abán all from Muskerry. Iveleary, now under the guidance of Niall Allen from Ballincollig, will have been disappointed with how their semi-final defeat to Bantry Blues last season panned out. 

The concession of three goals, two goals in a space of a minute did the damage as Iveleary lost by three points. 

There is no doubt new coach Allen, whose father is Cork GAA legend John, will have them defensively solid in 2023. 

Macroom and Naomh Abán have a lot of work to do, both clubs underperformed in 2022, Macroom failed to get out of the group, while for the Ballyvourney men, they had to win the relegation play-off to preserve their status.

Cill na Martra will go again under John Evans, they fell at the semi-final hurdle in 2022, the team in blue and white are with Aghada, Na Piarsaigh and last season’s IAFC winners Kilshannig. 

Moving onto IAFC, Aghabullogue, beaten finalists in 2018 and 2022, will be fancied to go deep into the championship again in 2023, but must navigate Adrigole, Gabriel Rangers and Glenville first, no easy task. 

Ballinora have a difficult group with Mitchelstown, Boherbue and Kildorrery making up Group C.

Kilmurry will make their bow in the new PJFC grade, they will be with Millstreet, Kinsale and St James’.

Focusing on the hurling draws now, the 2022 PIHC winners Inniscarra have a tough senior A hurling championship to navigate, with Na Piarsaigh, Bride Rovers and Killeagh making up the group. 

2020 PIHC winners Blarney failed to get out of the group last season, albeit a very difficult one, with the two teams in their group, Courcey Rovers and Fr O’Neill’s went on to contest the final. The team in red and white will be up against Courcey Rovers once again, Ballyhea and Newcestown. 

In PIHC, Ballincollig are with Castlelyons, Dungourney and Bandon, while Éire Óg, now under a new coach in Vincent Hurley from Courcey Rovers, are drawn with three Carrigdhoun teams, Ballymartle, Carrigaline and Valley Rovers. 

The Ovens club have won just one group-stage game since winning the delayed 2020 IAHC final, which was against Youghal in 2021 and will be hoping to improve on 2022, where they had to beat Youghal to avoid the drop.

In the IAHC, Aghabullogue’s task of getting out of the group will be challenging, with Youghal, Lisgoold and Aghada making up the group. Cloughduv will be hoping to go one better in 2023, having lost the final in 2022, but are down a number of players who have gone travelling. The team in green and gold are pitted against second strings Douglas and Midleton and premier JHC winners Ballygiblin.

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