SINCE promotion and relegation were introduced in the reconstructed county football leagues, sponsored by Cork Credit Unions, Division 2 has always been very competitive in the hunt for the two places on offer to join the top tier.
The 2023 edition is proving no different as just two points separate five clubs with leaders Clonakilty and Carrigaline the only unbeaten teams after four rounds of games but neither has a 100% record.
The west Cork club sit top on seven points, one ahead of Carrigaline and Newcestown with Fermoy and Ballingeary on five though Fermoy have a game in hand against Kanturk.
O’Donovan Rossa are also in the frame just three points adrift after the fourth round of nine games at the weekend.
Clon made it three wins and a draw following their 0-18 to 1-4 win over Kanturk while Newcestown’s greater scoring difference, +24 to Carrigaline’s +9, has much to do with their 2-22 to 1-9 win over Aghada, having been 1-14 to 1-3 clear at the break.
Tadhg Twomey cancelled out Jamie O’Hanlon’s goal for Aghada and Newcestown added a second immediately on the resumption, when Conor Goggin obliged.
Carrigaline picked up their second win by edging PSFC challengers St Michael’s by 0-15 to 0-14 to make it two wins and two draws to-date.
They led 0-11 to 0-9 at the interval and moved four in front after 48 minutes but couldn’t score again as the city club came within a point before time ran out on their bid for a share of the spoils.
Brian Coakley underlined his importance to the Carrigaline promotion chase by contributing 0-8, all bar one from frees while brother Niall chipped in with 0-3, including the last score, which proved to be the winner. Kevin O’Reilly added a couple while Jack McCarthy and Olin Barry also got among the scorers.
While a handful of clubs have designs on promotion, others in Division 1 are struggling to retain their status after Ballincollig and Carbery Rangers lost again to remain pointless with Kiskeam their nearest rivals on two points.
Valley Rovers and Douglas are seventh and sixth respectively on three and four points as holders Nemo Rangers and Castlehaven threaten to pull away at the top of the table.
Ballincollig are severely depleted because of Cork commitments, senior and U20, as well as player unavailability.
They lost to Douglas by 2-7 to 0-6 with Adam Cantwell scoring both goals in the second half, the first soon after the resumption and the second near the end.
Douglas welcomed back former Cork defender Kevin Flahive from the cruciate injury suffered in the Munster semi-final defeat by Kerry at Páirc Uí Rinn almost 11 months to the day.
Carbery Rangers managed to score 0-11 against Nemo, but the dual champions posted 2-15, the clinching second goal scored by Alan O’Donovan.
The Haven recovered from the concession of two early goals by Dave Scannell and Kieran O’Connor for Kiskeam to win narrowly by 2-13 to 3-9.
Michael Hurley and Micheal Magurie responded in kind for the Haven, who led by 2-6 to 2-3 at half-time, though a third Kiskeam goal from Shane O’Riordan ensured a nervous finish for the west Cork side.
Three teams, Éire Óeg, St Finbarr’s and Cill na Martra trail the front runners by three points before the next round of games the weekend after next.
Cill na Martra 1-15 St Finbarr’s 1-11; Castlehaven 2-13 Kiskeam 3-9; Valley Rovers 0-12 Éire Óg 2-8; Carbery Rangers 0-11 Nemo Rangers 2-15; Douglas 2-7 Ballincollig 0-6.
Carrigaline 0-15 St Michael’s 0-14; Newcestown 2-22 Aghada 1-9; Fermoy 2-14 Ballingeary 2-10; Clyda Rovers 0-18 O’Donovan Rossa 2-12; Clonakilty 0-18 Kanturk 1-4.
Macroom w/o Glanworth; Dohenys 0-11 Bishopstown 0-8; Mallow 0-22 Rockchapel 1-6; Knocknagree 0-13 Nemo Rangers 0-13; Castletownbere 1-16 Ilen Rovers 0-7.
Bantry Blues w/o Na Piarsaigh; Newmarket 3-12 Mitchelstown 2-10; Bandon 2-6 Kilshannig 2-18; St Vincent’s 0-14 Aghabullogue 1-11; Naomh Abán 1-9 Iveleary 4-12.
Ballydesmond 0-12 Boherbue 2-11; Adrigole 0-10 Ballinora 1-7; Boherbue 2-17 Dromtarriffe 1-8; Millstreet 1-8 Ballydesmond 1-12; Mayfield Glanmire; Glenville 0-11 Kinsale 1-12.
St Finbarr’s 0-10 St Nick’s 1-10; Kilmurry 3-12 Urhan 2-3; Buttevant 0-10 Kildorrery 0-10; Cobh 0-9 Gabriel Rangers 1-6.
St Michael’s 5-10 Cullen 2-16; Ballinhassig 1-18 Ballyclough 1-5; Castlemagner 1-9 Aghinagh 1-9.