Hard-luck story for Kanturk at home
After a few weeks of rest and relaxation many of the local Munster junior rugby sides got back into action last weekend with a mixture of cup and league action lined up to blow away those New Year cobwebs.
As always Kanturk were the only local side in J1 action as they entertained another side in relegation difficulties, Crosshaven at Knocknacolon.
Kanturk came into this one sitting at the wrong end of the table and desperate to take the spoils from what on the face of it looked like a very winnable game, but the sea-siders had other ideas on that front and battled hard to a deserved one point win. 19-18.
Crosshaven led this one early thanks to tries from Killian O'Keeffe and Oisin Conway (both converted by Cian McGovern) however Kanturk did have something to smile about before the break when Conor Cremin touched down to leave just nine between the sides as they headed for the half time interval.
Kanturk upped the ante after the break with a try from Gary Piggott, which was converted by Cremin, with the kicker also slotting home a brace of penalties to see Kanturk lead for the first time however Crosshaven were not to be denied and a late touchdown by Adam Kent saw Crosshaven.
The loss means that Kanturk really are in the relegation mire with some really difficult fixtures ahead, but the retention of a place in the top tier of junior rugby is still within their grasp.
Next weekend Kanturk have the small matter of a fixture at home against table toppers Clonmel. The Tipperary side have been hugely impressive all season with eight wins from eight this campaign.
Clonmel will be looking to extend their six-point advantage at the summit of Munster Junior Rugby and won't be prepared to cut the Duhallow boys any slack. Kanturk should be happy to get anything from this tie, but that will be easier said than done against the best side in provincial junior rugby.
In the middle tier top of the table Mallow sat out the weekend which afforded the other sides in the division the opportunity to close the gap on the undefeated Avondhu men.
Clonakilty were the main winners in the J2 last weekend hammering Castleisland by 76 points to close the gap on Mallow and move clear of third by all of eight points.
Also in the J2 Muskerry took on Old Christians at Irish Independent Park however the Ballyanly men were only able to garner a losing bonus point going down by 20 - 13.
Tries from Eddie Delahunt, Ryan Butt and Eugene Redmond set Christians on their way with a try apiece which were added to by Ryan O'Connell kicking one conversion and a single penalty. Muskerry hit back with a try from George O'Mahony with Jonathan Buckley converting and slotting over two very valuable penalties.
Last but not least in the J2 was Fermoy's battle with Fethard. The Cork side have been hugely impressive this season and have surprised many with their competitiveness right from the first to the most recent encounter.
Sometimes a side can win racking up a serious tally, but on other occasions it turns out to be much more of a dogfight and in the case of Fermoy's game last weekend it was all about the latter as the boys in green had to wait till the 88t hminute before Dylan Lacey was in a position to land what turned out to be a game winning penalty, stealing the win by the minimum, 6-5.
Lacey landed the victor's earlier penalty in the first 40 with Michael Gaynor bagging the only try of the game when he touched down for Fethard.
Next weekend will be huge for local rugby fans with two massive derby games set to light up the weekend. Sunday afternoon will see Charleville welcome Muskerry to the north Cork town with both sides desperate to not only take the points on offer but also the bragging rights going forward.
At the same time as that mouth-watering clash top of the table Mallow make the short trip up the road to take on promotion chasing Fermoy. Both sides will be confident that they are good enough to take the points and dent their opponent's chances of finishing the season in the top two spots.
Little doubt that Mallow will start as favourites, but the lads from St Joseph's Road won't be taking anything for granted against a side that have already shown they have Mallow's number when their backs are to the wall. Little doubting that this one has game of the weekend written all over it.
J3 promotion chasing Mitchelstown are the last of the local sides out this weekend as they welcome Ennis to Cork.
Mitchelstown have all the attributes required to win this one and a positive result is an imperative if the Avondhu side are to harbour genuine promotion ambitions.
Sunday January 13
Kanturk v Clonmel
Charleville v Muskerry
Fermoy v Mallow
Mitchelstown v Ennis