Red FM Hurling League preview: Busy bank holiday weekend of fixtures

Cork panellists unavailable to clubs this time around for some cracking clashes, including Sars at Erin's Own on St Patrick's Day
Red FM Hurling League preview: Busy bank holiday weekend of fixtures

Erin's Own's James O'Flynn goes past Sarsfields pair Cillian Roche and Daniel English during the 2020 Co-Op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The clubs meet in the RedFM Hurling League Division 1 this weekend. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Traditionally, St Patrick’s Day was the signal for the start of the county hurling leagues.

Prior to the advent of the split-season, the leagues would commence in mid-March and progress solidly until the beginning of the county championships, whereupon the scheduling would become more ragged.

The latter stages of the leagues became a movable feast as they were dependent on the conclusion of the county championships, which were in turn influenced by when Cork were eliminated from the All-Ireland senior championships.

Consider this – in early February 2004, Blackrock beat Cloyne in the final of the 2003 league. A week later, they beat Erin’s Own in the semi-finals of the 2002 league and were due to meet St Finbarr’s in the final not long after that but the fixture never materialised and the competition was never finished.

The Evening Echo, as it was then known, came on board as sponsors for the 2004 campaign and there was a better structure applied to ensure resolution before the beginning of the next edition. Radio station RedFM succeeded the Echo and remain the title sponsors, while the change in format regarding the inter-county and club championships means that the regular sections of the leagues are now done and dusted by the time the championships begin in the summer.


For dual clubs, that means a hectic 18-week period, alternating between hurling and football each weekend, but there is at least a greater clarity while the realignment of the divisions for this year should also ensure a better shape to things.

Having begun a fortnight ago, the hurling leagues are back this weekend, with many teams availing of the bank holiday by scheduling matches for tonight or tomorrow. However, while players on the Cork senior panel were released to play for their clubs in the opening round, the fact that the Rebels are in action against Clare in Cusack Park in the final round of the Allianz Hurling League means that those players are unavailable.

Four of the five fixtures in Division 1 take place tomorrow. League holders Blackrock began with a win over Carrigtwohill and they host last year’s senior A champions Fr O’Neills at Church Road at 11.30am. O’Neills drew with Charleville first time out and the North Cork side host the 2022 beaten finalists Douglas, while there is an East Cork derby between neighbours Erin’s Own and Sarsfields.

Elsewhere tomorrow, Na Piarsaigh welcome Carrigtwohill while the only game taking place on a different day sees Kanturk entertain Killeagh on Sunday.

There are two games in Division 2 tonight. Bishopstown lost narrowly to Midleton two weeks ago while Fermoy were edged out by Bride Rovers and one or both of those beaten sides will get off the mark when they meet at 7.30pm.

Bride will look to make it two wins from two when they go to Ballincollig, who lost out to Glen Rovers. Next up for the Glen is a home clash tomorrow against Newtownshandrum, the North Cork side having drawn with St Finbarr’s in their first outing.

The Barrs also play tomorrow, at home to Mallow, while Courcey Rovers take on Midleton.

Division 3 sees a local derby tonight as Bandon clash with Newcestown at Charlie Hurley Park, while Carrigaline take on Éire Óg and Kilworth do battle with Blackrock’s second team.

Action from the 2020 meeting between Castlelyons and Inniscarra in the Co-op SuperStores Premier IHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins
Action from the 2020 meeting between Castlelyons and Inniscarra in the Co-op SuperStores Premier IHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins

Castlelyons, who beat Bandon first time out, are away to last year’s Premier IHC winners Inniscarra. The East Cork side, who have former Cork minor manager and senior coach Noel Furlong involved, beat their Muskerry opponents en route to the 2020 and 2021 PIHC finals but last year they were beaten by Castlemartyr in the semi-finals before ‘Scarra then beat Castlemartyr in the decider.

Two other sides renewing acquaintance after a recent championship meeting are Dungourney and Cloughduv, who clash in Division 5 on Saturday. The teams played in last year’s IAHC final, with Dungourney coming out on top.


Thursday, March 16

Division 2: Bishopstown v Fermoy, 7.30pm; Ballincollig v Bride Rovers, 8pm.
Division 3: Carrigaline v Éire Óg, 7.30pm; Kilworth v Blackrock, 7.30pm; Bandon v Newcestown, 8pm.

Division 4: Kildorrery v Ballinhassig, 8pm.

Division 5: Mayfield v Ballygiblin, 7.30pm.

Friday, March 17

Division 1: Na Piarsaigh v Carrigtwohill, 11am; Blackrock v Fr O’Neills, 11.30am; Charleville v Douglas, 11.30am; Erin’s Own v Sarsfields, 12pm.

Division 2: St Finbarr’s v Mallow, 11.15am; Courcey Rovers v Midleton, 11.30am; Glen Rovers v Newtownshandrum, 11.30am.

Division 3: Inniscarra v Castlelyons, 11.30am.

Division 4: Valley Rovers v Aghabullogue, 11.30am; Youghal v St Catherine’s, 11.30am; Milford v Cloyne, 12pm.

Saturday, March 18

Division 5: Dungourney v Cloughduv, 2pm; Midleton v Argideen Rangers, 3pm.

Sunday, March 19

Division 1: Kanturk v Killeagh, 11.30am.

Division 3: Blarney v Ballymartle, 11.30am.

Division 4: Ballyhea v Lisgoold, 12pm.

Division 5: Aghada v Russell Rovers, 11.30am; Watergrasshill v Castlemartyr, 11.30am.

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