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Intermediate A Hurling Championship promises to be fascinating

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The news that Meelin's main talisman Eamon Brosnan misses out to injury is a blow. Picture John Tarrant

The news that Meelin's main talisman Eamon Brosnan misses out to injury is a blow. Picture John Tarrant

The news that Meelin's main talisman Eamon Brosnan misses out to injury is a blow. Picture John Tarrant

IAHC Round 1: Kildorrery v Mayfield, Sunday August 2, Castlelyons, 2pm - Kildorrery's hurlers lost out to Aghabullogue in the football championship last weekend and because of this morale at the club is likely to be a bit on the shaky side.

This time it is the hurlers that will take to the field however with a host of dual players it seems unlikely that the ill effects of the game in Mallow last Friday night will be already put to bed by all.

Mayfield's hurlers are in the same boat as Kildorrery's as their footballers also lost out last weekend (to Adrigole) so they too will need a little TLC come this weekend's adventures.

Kildorrery struggled at Intermediate last time round and will know that a repeat this season may well end in relegation. Kildorrery had to go all the way top the relegation playoff game last season which ultimately saw them secure status by beating Kilbrittain.

Mayfield, for their part, went out in Round 3 last season to Éire Óg and will be disappointed that they missed out on what was a good chance to progress.

Both sides have reason to be optimistic heading into this season's competition and both will feel this weekend offers them an opportunity to get a strong foothold in the championship. Mayfield have the players and the experience to get through this game but Kildorrery will be up for the fight. Perhaps Mayfield by the minimum but really close to call.

Éire Óg v Sarsfields

Sunday August 2

Ballygarvan, 7pm

Sarsfields' second side are likely to provide Éire Óg with some stiff opposition this weekend as the two sides kick off their IAHC round robin campaign at Ballygarvan this Sunday night.

Éire Óg got their football campaign off to the perfect start last weekend and while hurling is important to the Ovens club, the small ball will always play second fiddle, particularly now that Éire Óg are finally a senior football side.

Sars will come into this one with a host of players looking to impress the club's senior management team who will have played their opener this Friday night against Midleton. Hard to know what side the Glanmire side will field however you can be sure that the starting 15 will be as committed and talented as any other side in this division.

Difficult to back against Sarsfields at any grade of hurling in Cork and that also goes for intermediate however Eire Óg are a club on the march and they may well have enough to take the spoils here - but still, Sarsfields likely have the advantage heading into this game and it will take a serious effort by the Muskerry club to stop them. Sarsfields by a couple of scores.

Cloughduv v Aghabullogue

Sunday August 2

Ballincollig 7pm

Cloughduv and Aghabullogue will go at it this Sunday evening - each looking to get the jump on the other in the race for a spot in the knockout stages of this season's IAHC.

Aghabullogue come into this game after their footballers won their opening round last weekend and with plenty of the same players buzzing from their win over Kildorrery last Friday night the team will be in good shape come throw in.

Last season Aghabullogue made it all the way to the semi-final of the intermediate championship only to come unstuck against Blackrock's second side. This season they will be looking to go all the way and secure elevation to the top grade of intermediate hurling.

This week's opponents, Cloughduv, also fell to the city side last year but they managed to make it to showpiece game and have a credible expectation of making it back to the latter stages again in 2020.

This game will go to post at a very familiar venue for both however like all other teams this weekend, the pairing will likely suffer from the lack of support from their fans in the stands.

Both sides will feel this is a very important game to win as no side wants to be on the back foot after day one but in reality, these two squads should feel that a loss here is not the end of the world - the loser can still qualify for the last eight.

Nothing to choose between the pair but perhaps Aghabullogue by a touch - the club are riding high right now.

Meelin v Douglas

Sunday, August 2

Donoughmore, 4pm

Three months on from its intended date, its a case of city meeting country with form unknown given the lengthy lay-off.

Back-to-back wins over second teams from Midleton and Ballymartle unveiled Meelin's challenge in last season's IHC. Those wins set up a date against 2018 Co. JAHC winners Cloughduv at a sweltering Banteer where as the game aged, Cloughduv emerged far stronger in all departments and hurled with a greater fervour to collect a deserved victory.

Following a close opening half, Meelin failed to sustain a power packed and highly energetic performance of a well balanced Cloughduv outfit that possessed the great zip to allow nine players get on the scoresheet.

This season,Thomas Mahony took up the reins of control and his enthusiasm is sure to be evident on the field. However, the news that main talisman Eamon Brosnan misses out to injury is a blow and it will require leadership from Stephen Martin O'Sullivan, T J Brosnan, Brendan O'Sullivan, Shane Hehir and the welcome return of Liam Collins to inspire effort on the field.

Douglas operate a second string combination, their composition unknown until the completion of their SHC clash with Ballyhea on Saturday. Still Douglas can boost large numbers from underage and their record at IHC is encouraging, last season, they were involved in four games against St. Finbarrs, Ballinhassig and Dripsey before Aghabullogue ended their interest.

Expectations here are of a decent battle, Douglas will bring talent but Meelin's experience is capable of landing a win.

Corkman