The club football scene gets underway the weekend after next with some mouth-watering action in prospect
With the All-Ireland inter-county finals down for decision over the coming two weekends, and Cork out on all fronts, all eyes on Leeside now turn to the club championships with more than a few tasty matchups down for decision in the coming weeks.
First up the on the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of July is Round 1 of the county’s football competitions with plenty of interest for football lovers from all over the county.
The 2022 Cork Premier Senior Draw raised the possibility of some seriously entertaining and hard to call tests in the round robin stages with some of the most famous and successful Cork clubs pitting their wares against the best of the rest in Ireland’s largest county.
In group A, the 2021 champions have drawn Ovens side Éire Óg as well as Carbery Rangers and Carrigaline. Little doubting that the city side will be favourites to get out of this group with a genuine scrap between the other three to see if they can secure a place in the knockout stages.
Éire Óg did well to come out of a tough group last season, but bowed out when they face The Bars at the quarter-final stage.
In Group B Douglas are the side to beat with Valley Rovers, Ballincollig and Mallow all well placed to challenge the city side. This is Mallow’s first year at the top table of Cork football and the Avondhu side will be well up for a crack at getting through one of the most competitive groups in this season’s competition.
Keith Moynihan will look to lead his charges through the round robin stage with Ballincollig first up for the men in red and yellow.
Little doubting that one of the toughest groups to predict is Group C where the mighty Nemo Rangers, take on Clonakilty, Castlehaven and Newcestown looking for a place in the knockout stages.
Nemo will be keen to get back to winning ways so there will be plenty of twists and turns in this particular group before the final two sides advance to the quarter finals.
Down a grade, the competitiveness is no less intense as another 12 sides battle it out for the ultimate prize of a spot in the Premier Senior grade for 2023.
A serious amount of North and Mid Cork sides are competing at this level with Clyda Rovers, Newmarket, Béal Ath An Ghaorthaidh, Kiskeam, Bishopstown, Knocknagree, and, Fermoy all well in the hunt for top honours this time round.
Group A sees Ilen Rovers, Clyda Rovers, Newmarket and O’Donovan Rossa all in the hunt for one of the two knockout stage spots on offer for the Senior A Competition.
Clyda Rovers and Newmarket have done well to compete at this level over the years and will feel that yet again there are chances to progress if the right results are secured early on.
Group B is just as challenging as Group A with Béal Ath An Ghaorthaidh, Dohenys, Bandon and Kiskeam all well in the hunt for a place in either a quarter final or semi-final spot.
Kiskeam have been very impressive in recent years keeping themselves at this level of competition and will again look to 2022 to not only hold their spot but to at least get themselves out if the round robin stage of the championship.
Group C is the final of the senior football groups with Knocknagree, Bishopstown and Fermoy all vying for a place in the top two – and by extension a place in the quarter-finals at least.
Almost perennial runners up, St Michael’s will again be the side to beat here with the local three all well within striking distance of a place in the quarters.
Group C affords North Cork a really good chance of getting at least one, if not two sides into the business end of the 2022 championship – Fermoy likely to be the strongest of challengers in the current campaign.
In the Premier Intermediate Football Championship, all eyes will be Group A as Nemo Rangers second side take on Cill na Martra, St Vincents and Iveleary. Some really competitive games in one of the toughest grades of football.
In Group B, Bantry Blues, Aghada, Na Piarsaigh, Castletownbere will all pitch up this year looking to make it back to senior football – some genuinely exciting prospects in this group – hard to look past the clash between Bantry and Castletownbere.
In the final Group, Group C, there is a real Duhallow v Mid Cork feel to proceedings as Kanturk, Naomh Abán, Macroom and Rockchapel will all lock horns over the course of the following two months.
Kanturk have been one of the most impressive clubs in Cork over the last number of years so don’t be surprised to see the Intermediate footballers follow the club’s hurlers up to senior.
The other three sides in the group, Naomh Abán, Macroom and Rockchapel, will also look to show their worth this season – this is probably one of the hardest groups to predict in any of the 2022 group stages.
After a disappointing 2022 for the county’s top footballers the return of the club championships affords everyone interested in the code to return to grassroots, take stock, as they look to produce another wonderfully entertaining set of competitions.