East Cork will have six club sides and division side Imokilly in the hunt for the Sean ÓG Murphy Cup, currently held by Imokilly who will be bidding for a three-in-arow, no easy task let me tell you. However, Imokilly will be happy enough with the draw which pairs them with Carrigdhoun and if they advance here they will meet the winner of the Avondhu/Carberry clash for a place in the third round draw.
Midleton, last year’s defeated finalist will again face a tough opponent in former winner Glen Rovers. The sides also met in last year’s quarter final with Midleton getting through by the minimum margin so another tight contest can be expected this time round.
Sarsfields who will always be expected to be challenging for honours will meet Kanturk who will be in their second season at senior level. On paper at least Sarsfields would be expected to advance but in the first round every club will fancy their chances, but Sarsfields should still be good enough to go through.
Bride Rovers have been drawn against city side Douglas and here you will have the passion of Bride Rovers against a Douglas side full of household names yet themen from Rathcormac will be tough opponents for Douglas who will be the fancied side but Bride Rovers have it all to gain and nothing to lose by giving it a go.
Carrigtwohill have also drawn city opposition in he form of St Finbarrs and they look to have a ough task against a StFinbarrs side that is doing well in both codes at present. Carrig will do well to get a result here but in theopening round anything can happen. Killeagh too will be up against it playing Na Piarsigh from the North side yet the East Cork side are not without hope as in recent times Na Piarsigh are not as strong as they once were. However, Killeagh will need to get their act together for this one as it is a great opportunity to advance to the knockout stages, and they could have gotten a lot stronger opponent.
Erin’s Own will be the first East Cork side into action in the preliminary round where they face a tough opponent in Ballymartle. Erin’s Own and Ballymartle are both established senior sides now yet both would need to improve to be outright contenders. There will be little to choose between them with the loser into round two while the winner will face newly promoted Charleville inround 1 and the loser here will also be into round 2 but safe from relegation.
Premier Intermediate Hurling
Sixteen teams will start out in this championship and it would be fair to say that not a puck of the ball separates most of them. East Cork will have six teams in contention and as luck would have it four of them have been drawn against one another. Exciting ties are in prospect when Youghal take on Castlelyons in what could be a cracking contest as both will fancy their chances. Castlelyons might just about shade the verdict if they are at full strength.
he other all East Cork clash will see Cloyne take on neighbours Aghada and here again we should be in for a cracking contest. Cloyne who are the more experienced side will perhaps hold the favourite tag but Aghada would like nothing better than to put one over on their neighbours.
Watergrasshill will be playing Inniscarra in their opening fixture and here again “The Hill” would have a good chance of success. Inniscarra can be really good at their best but so too can Watergrasshill, who would still be the outsider in this contest.
Fr O’Neill’s are the final East Cork side in action and they will play Ballincollig, who are last year’s Intermediate champions. The men from Aghavoine will be happy enough with this draw and I would expect them to advance to the knockout stages where the competition will be much tougher.
Five East Cork sides were in the hat for the Intermediate hurling draw with Castlemartyr coming out in the opening pairing against Argideen Rangers and Seamus Lawton who is back in charge of his home village will be pleased enough with this opponent. Castlemartyr have a nice blend of youth and experience and can do well in this competition.
St Catherine’s too will be happy enough as they have drawn last year’s Junior hurling winner Cloughduv, and while they are certain to get a tough test from the Muskerry side, St Catherine’s who were Junior champions in 2017 might just have enough experience to get through to the knockout stage at the first time of asking.
Midleton who will be fielding their second side will also be happy enough to have drawn Meelin as they will be a new opponent for the Magpies who did really well last year. Midleton have plenty of good hurlers and should again give a good account of themselves this season.
Dungourney could not have asked for a tougher draw as their opponents Eire Og will be one of the fancied sides in this championship. Still if Dungourney play to their best they would be in with a shout but no matter what happens they will have a second shot at getting through in any case.
Sarsfields, like Midleton will be fielding their second side against neighbours Mayfield and this has the makings of a really interesting contest. Mayfield have done really well over the past two seasons, but Sarsfields will relish the challenge and depending on who they have available could put one over on their neighbours.
The East Cork interest in the senior football championship is likely to be just a passing one as Aghada have moved down a grade, leaving just the divisional Imokilly side as the sole representative here. Imokilly will be fielding after a long absence but they could not have gotten a tougher opponent as they will face last year’s beatenfinalist Duhallow in the opener. With no second chance this is likely to be a task beyond them. Still it will give young lads a taste for the big ball and if Imokilly can get a bit of preparation done they could at least give a good account of themselves, but victory would be a huge surprise.
All of the big guns have avoided one another with the stand out ties being the meeting of Carberry Rangers and Ilen Rovers and Newcestown and Clonakilty.
Premier Intermediate Football
Aghada will be the sole East Cork representative in the Premier Intermediate grade and after stepping down from senior, they will be hoping for a good championship run. They will face Na Piarsigh in their opening contest and they should be good enough to get a result here. They can take nothing for granted however and they would need to be at their best to advance in a grade where there are plenty of potential winners.
In the Intermediate football championship East Cork will have three clubs in the hunt for honours. Youghal who had a splendid campaign last year will again face a tough opener against the winner of the Kildorrery/Knocknagree contest with the All-Ireland Junior champions of 2017 likely to advance from this contest. Youghal might not win here but they should still get through to the knockout stages.
Glanmire at their best could challenge for eventual honours, but in any case they should be good enough to see off the challenge of Grenagh in their opening contest. Glanmire have plenty of talent but often do not play as well as expected, but a win in the opening contest would be a good start.
Glenville are the third East Cork side in this championship and they will be happy enough to have drawn Mayfield who will also be happy with the draw. It is a fifty / fifty contest but if Glenville put their best foot forward I would fancy their chances of getting a result.
Nearer the actual championship dates we will have a more indebt look at each individual contest, but for now clubs will be using their league games as build up for the first round games that should commence in April, so exciting times ahead as a new playing season is just around the corner.