Most Duhallow clubs are readying themselves for a return to the field ahead of the start to the 2014 playing season. Many of the teams hope to build from the success generated from secondary leagues and championships during 2013. Last week, The Corkman reflected on the destination of the major championship titles won by Lyre and Kilbrin.
Lyre fix their target of taking the next step of claiming back to back JAFC titles, while Kibrin attempt to complete a hat trick of consectutive hurling titles. For the remainder, there remains much hope and aspiration, dwelling at the outcome of the secondary competitions from 2013 offers plenty of optimism in a look ahead to a new season.
Knocknagree's productive early season commenced with a steady run in the Junior A Football League. From 48 games played, consistent runs earned Knocknageee, Cullen, Millstreet and Boherbue passages into the semi finals. Here Knocknagree eased past Boherbue while Millstreet enjoyed a single point win over Cullen.
Onto the decider, a polished Knocknagree combination coasted to an impressive 0-14 to 0-4 win over Millstreet. After a closely contested opening 30 minutes, there was no question which team emerged as the more formidable and balanced with Knocknagree's slickness in attack proved decisive.
Outlook: Knocknagree and Millstreet require greater consistency to prolong their season beyond a productive league that both sides flattered to deceive in summer 2013. Lyre are defending JAFC champions though expect Cullen, Knocknagree and Millstreet attempt to create inroads in the spring.
U21 A Football
Pobal Uí Chaoimh put a new name on the roll of honour but only after enduring the sternest of tests from Kanturk in an absorbing decider. A competitve championship culminated on an eagerly awaited decider and the huge attendance weren't disappointed as both sides gave it their all in a titanic struggle for supremacy.
Pobal dominated by Knocknagree with help from Ballydesmond entered the fray as outsiders yet dominated large tracks. Back came Kanturk to erase the deficit and appeared likely to succeed. Significantly Pobal held the composure in a last throw of the dice for super sub Fintan O'Connor land an injury match winning point.
Outlook: Pobal Ui Chaoimh are capable of claiming back to back honours though Kanturk, Boherbue and Robert Emmets will pose a threat.
U21 B Football
No disputing the masters from 2013 on Robert Emmetts turning the tables on hotly fancied defending champions Boherbue. Over the hour in the decider in poor weather, Emmets comprising a Newmarket and Lismire line up possessed the superior power, netting all important goals and thankful late on to the heroics of net minder David Quinlan.
Outlook: Awaiting declaration of grading of teams though 2013 finalists Emmetts and Boherbue may be in a position to figure strongly in the A grade.
Junior B Football
Championship Group 1
Great games enroute before Newmarket held enough craft and scoring ability to see off a brave Rockchapel in a highly entertaining decider. Putting together a well organised and efficient performance , Newmarket collected championship accolades for the first time since 2005.
Outlook: Intermediates sides fielding second teams hold the key yet Glenlara and company will ply their trade in search of a breakthrough.
Junior B Football
Championship Group 2
Glenlara and Lismire renewed acquaintance in the 2013 decider where a late point proved sufficient for Glenlara collect their second title in three years.
Lismire offered gritty defending, chasing and harassing that epitomised their desire for first time championship. Dominating the early exchanges, Lismire relented foe a spell only to made an all out effort to rescue the outcome. Still Glenlara's experience of the big occasion stood up for Conor O'Keeffe deliver the matchwinner to an engrossing game.
Outlook: Glenlara look well versed to remain a force with St. John's, Freemount and Lismire also in the limelight.
Junior B Football League
Kiskeam chiselled out a hard fought victory over Knocknagree to a rousing contest. An intriguing clash emerged as the closeness of the exchanges had the attendance on tenterhooks. Significantly for Kiskeam, the creation and the execution of three goals appeared to knock Knocknagree off their stride before a late comeback wasn't enough.
Outlook: For the first time, one league operated in 2013. Clubs with bigger numbers appear to hold an advantage That may result on a second league for Junior B clubs only.