Big test of 2013 finalists Macroom against Ballingeary
THESE two sides experienced starkly contrasting fortunes in Round 1 of last year's premier intermediate football championship.
Macroom v Ballingeary
Whereas Macroom were on the receiving end of an eleven-point thrashing from 2012 runners-up St Michael's, Ballingeary enjoyed a fairly comfortable victory over Carrigaline. Ballingeary made further progress at Mallow's expense next time out, but their title-aspirations were dashed when they went under by a point to Nemo Rangers in the quarter-final.
Macroom, for their part, bounced back from their humiliating first round defeat to fashion a decisive win over Glenville, a result that turned their season around in no uncertain manner. They fell to Clyda Rovers at the last hurdle, however, and it remains to be seen if they have put that disappointment behind them as they attempt to go one better this year.
It's never easy to get the show back on the road in the wake of a county final defeat, although Macroom can take encouragement from what Clyda accomplished last year, given that the Mourneabbey men had filled the runners-up slot in this championship on three occasions between 2009 and 2011.
There is no disputing that Macroom are a formidable side, possessing players with senior inter-county experience in Fintan Goold, Sean Kiely, Eoin O'Mahony and David Goold, and they would have to be shortlisted as potential champions in 2014.
But it's an extremely competitive grade, with most of the teams involved capable of beating each other on a given day, so Macroom aren't going to find it easy to sample county championship success, which they last tasted at intermediate level in 2010
Ballingeary are certainly equipped to put it up to them on Saturday night, as they have invariably competed well in recent years, and one has to go back to 2007 to discover when they previously came a cropper in a first round game.