LAST weekend was far from a full weekend of rugby action for the north and mid Cork areas as only two sides took to the field to enhance their ambitions of league and cup success.
Kanturk and Mallow both strutted their stuff last Sunday with the former taking on Kilfeacle in the J1 league while the latter took on Sunday's Well in the Munster Junior Cup.
Not for the first time this season it was a great weekend for the local sides with both teams again proving to be a cut above their respective opponents.
Less than 24 hours after Munster failed in their Rabo Direct game in Musgrave Park Mallow took their place in round four of the Munster Junior Cup at the same venue.
Fortunately for the north Cork men they fared much better than the illustrious side in red had on Saturday night as they easily brushed aside the home side – Sunday's Well.
Captain John McAulliffe did what he does best as he led his side through a tough mid field battle. The number five was rewarded with a try for his efforts with Andy Cashman adding five successful penalties to round off a great day for the visitors.
Mick Lynch responded with a penalty and a drop goal for the home side with Nollaig Connolly adding another drop goal.
Mallow can now forget about cup action for a while as they prepare to go back to league action next Sunday.
Next up for the side second in the table is a home tie against Clare side Ennis.
The visitor's are not out of the title race yet as they currently sit in fifth place six points behind second placed Mallow with a game in hand on the St Joseph's road side.
Neither side can afford to lose this tie so expect a no holds barred clash between two sides that have impressed all season.
Kanturk were the other north Cork side to take to the field last Sunday as they continued their quest to be crowned the best junior rugby side in Munster.
Kilfeacle and District were the opposition last weekend and despite their home advantage and a good track record this season they were just another side in a long list of good teams that failed to halt the Kanturk bandwagon.
Although Kilfeacle came up short against their visitors they did push Kanturk all the way to a dramatic end with a Josh Featherstone try which was converted by Shane Looby.
Looby rounded off the scoring for the home side with a penalty but it just wasn't enough to stop Kanturk taking the spoils.
A try by Alan Jones was converted by Mark Healy to give Kanturk a 7-0 lead at the break and although the home side rallied well after the break a penalty from Looby was followed by the game's final and defining score – a try from Kealan Buckley.
Buckley's late heroics keeps his side in second position in the J1, three points behind a Richmond side that look destined to take this year's title.
Kanturk can now rest up for a weekend before they entertain Clonmel on the banks of the Allow and the Dallow in another season defining encounter for the top north Cork side.
Next Sunday does see Muskerry head back into action, with the J2 leaders keen to keep their unbeaten league campaign on track for the foreseeable future.
A trip to Kinsale is on the cards for the mid Cork men as they prepare to make the sea siders just another notch on their impressive 2012 belts. This has been a magnificent season so far for the Muskerry men as they have recorded six wins and two draws in their opening eight league games.
Another three wins from their remaining four fixtures could see Muskerry joining the likes of Tralee and Kanturk at the junior top table and with the opponents getting more difficult by the week, this game away to Kinsale should be seen as a very winnable opportunity.
With Fermoy on a rest week next Sunday it is left to Charleville to fly the flag for local rugby in the J3 this weekend. However their reward for representing the area is a home tie against league leaders and promotion favourites Killorglin.
This has been a difficult campaign so far for Charleville rugby and that is unlikely to get any easier this weekend as the Kerry side come to the Limerick border full of confidence after some recent impressive results.
A win for the home side is not as remote a possibility as the league table may suggest but there is little doubt that a big improvement will be required if Charleville are to pull off what would have to be considered a shock win. FIXTURES Sunday, January 13 (games at 2.30pm) Kinsale v Muskerry Mallow v Ennis Charleville v Killorglin