RARELY has a Cork derby carried as much significance as the Sunday’s Well-Midleton game at Musgrave Park tonight at 8pm.
At stake is the Well’s survival as a long-standing senior club while their rivals from the east of the county are in the firing line also as are Omagh Academicals and Ballina.
The city side prop up energia All-Ireland League Division 2C on 18 points with Omagh on 25 and Midleton and Ballina on 26 with just one game remaining after this.
If the Well lose, then it’s an automatic return to junior ranks next season while the team finishing above them meets the runners-up in the junior play-offs.
Even if home form stands up, an Omagh victory away to Clonmel tomorrow would still seal the Well’s fate.
The other Musgrave Park club, Dolphin, are also in big trouble in Division 2A and their relegation is likely to be confirmed away to second-placed Blackrock College.
The Cork side trail UL Bohemians by eight points with the Limerick club at home to Cashel and set to contest the play-offs.
On a brighter note, Highfield’s 27-7 bonus point victory at Buccaneers last week narrowed the gap in the promotion chase from Division 1A following two tries from Luke Kingston and one apiece from Ben Murphy and Cian Bohane, his eighth of the campaign. James Taylor converted two and kicked a penalty.
It means the Woodleigh Park club, who host Naas, in seventh, have cut the gap to just one on Buccaneers and two on Old Belvedere with leaders City of Armagh seven points clear.
Highfield remain fourth but with Buccs facing Old Wesley there’s every chance a repeat of the 24-22 victory in Naas earlier in the season when Bohane crossed twice, could help them jump a place.
UCC make the long trip north to Armagh still searching for points to be guaranteed of avoiding the relegation issues, currently eight ahead of bottom club Malone, who visit the Mardyke on the last day, and four in front of Banbridge.
A Luke McAuliffe hat-trick helped collect a bonus point in the 40-32 defeat by St Mary’s a week ago, when Pat McBarron also scored and College awarded a penalty try.
Both have qualified for the semi-finals and if the current placings remain unchanged, they’ll meet for a third time in Dublin for a place in the decider.
Terenure stunned Con when winning 47-12 in round 2 so Con won’t lack motivation.