Cork Premier Intermediate championship club-by-club guide

Hurling

A guide to the championship won last year by Ballyhea.

BALLINHASSIG

Manager: John O’Sullivan

Captain: Eddie Finn

Colours: Blue jersey, white shorts, blue and white socks

First-round Opponents: Carrigaline

2014 Championship: Lost to Cloyne in quarter-final

Star Man: Fintan O Leary

One to Watch: Patrick Collins

Last year was one to forget for Ballinhassig as hopes of an immediate return to Senior died at the quarter-final stage. While getting to the last eight will have been heartening, they will know that they had a chance of overcoming Cloyne but just did not perform.

In Fintan O Leary and Patrick Collins, they have two very good attackers, and if those two link well, opponents will find them difficult to deal with.

BANDON

Manager: Mark Prendergast

Captain: Donough Lucey

Colours: White jersey with yellow trim, white shorts, yellow socks

First-round Opponents: Courcey Rovers

2014 Championship: Lost to Cloyne in Round 4

Star Man: Darren Crowley

One to Watch: Mark Sugrue

Having finally escaped the intermediate grade in 2011, after final defeats in 2007 and ’08, Bandon continued their fine momentum into the Premier championship, getting all the way to the final only to fall against what was an excellent Ballinhassig team in 2012. Since then, Bandon have struggled to make an impact in the latter stages of the championship. Last year goals proved costly as they lost to Cloyne in Round 4 by 4-14 to 1-15. Experienced centre-back Donough Lucey will be a defiant presence in the defence, while a young and swift attack will pose big problems for opponents. The highly-rated Michael Cahalane is very likely to miss the season due to health reasons.

BLARNEY

Manager: Michael O’Mahony

Captain: Darragh McSweeney

Colours: Red jersey with white trim, white shorts, red socks

First-round Opponents: Kilworth

2014 Championship: Lost to Ballinhassig in Round 4

Star Man: Joe Jordan

One to Watch: David Walsh

Since winning the intermediate All-Ireland title in 2009, most of the team from that historic day in Croke Park have departed. Current panellists that played that day were Darragh McSweeney Paul O’Leary, Joe Jordan, Brian Hurley, Ross McNamara, Colin Murphy & Eugene McCarthy, giving them a solid foundation.

Running up big scores will be a challenge and they are likely to come up against sides with greater firepower. But shouldn’t have any relegation worries.

CARRIGALINE

Manager: John Middleton

Captain: Wesley O Brien

Colours: Blue jersey with gold hoop, blue shorts, blue socks

First-round Opponents: Ballinhassig

2014 Championship: Lost to Newcestown in Round 4

Star Man: Robert O’Shea

One to Watch: Paul Campbell

Carrigaline needed to beat Ballincollig in the relegation final in 2013 to stay up, while last year there was no great progress as they were beaten well by Newcestown in Round 4

Over the winter they have suffered with the loss of players through emigration and retirement. If they do beat Ballinhassig, then at least the pressure will be off in terms of preservation of status, but a Ballinhassig win might make things nervy.

CASTLELYONS

Manager: Dave Hoare

Captain: Colm Spillane

Colours: Green jersey with gold hoop, white shorts, green and gold socks

First-round Opponents: Kanturk

2014 Championship: Lost to Ballyhea in the quarter-final after a replay

Star Man: Anthony Spillane

One to Watch: Niall O’Leary

Following their relegation from senior in 2009, Castlelyons had to endure a period of consolidation at this level, but emerging talent has left them with reason for optimism again. Colm Barry, Colm Spillane, Michael Spillane, Anthony Spillane and Niall O Leary are just some of the names to excite supporters of the Imokilly club, and they will look forward to their clash with Kanturk as a chance to lay down a marker.

Experience is provided by Timmy McCarthy, Ciaran McGann is back light training having done his cruciate last year and is a doubt for the championship opener while Leo Sexton is a strong presence at midfield.

CLOYNE

Manager: Martin Walsh

Captain: Paudie O’Sullivan

Colours: Red and black hooped jersey, black shorts, red and black hooped socks

First-round Opponents: Watergrasshill

2014 Championship: Lost to Ballyhea in the semi-final

Star Man: Diarmuid O’Sullivan

One to Watch: Keith Dennehy

Cloyne, relegated from senior in 2012, were tipped to go straight back up but unfortunately for the East Cork club the loss of key players and bad luck have been their downfall.

League results have been up and down so far, but with Diarmuid O’Sullivan on the edge of the square, they will cause problems come championship time.

O’Sullivan aside, their attack is littered with fine players, such as Conor Cusack, Paudie O Sullivan and Dillon Cahill.

If they get over Watergrasshill, which wont be easy, they will be a team others will want to avoid.

COURCEY ROVERS

Joint Managers: Diarmuid Fahy and Timmy Kelleher

Captain: David Duggan

Colours: Red and white hooped jersey, white shorts, red socks

First-round Opponents: Bandon

2014 Championship: Relegated from Senior

Star Man: Daire Lordan

One to Watch: Mark White

Relegated from senior last season, Courcey’s mental strength will be tested as they aim to make a quick return to the top ranks. With an experienced squad, they will be keen to show that they belong at senior and that last year was not a true reflection of their standing. While older heads like Vincent Hurley provide composure, they have some exciting younger players as well and it would not surprise many if they make the business end of the championship.

FERMOY

Manager: Denis Ring

Captain: Brian O Sullivan

Colours: Black and yellow hooped jersey, black shorts, black and yellow socks

First-round Opponents: Valley Rovers

2014 Championship: IHC champions

Star Man: Liam Coleman

One to Watch: David Geary

After knocking on the door of the Premier Intermediate grade since coming up from junior in 2009, including plenty of heartbreak in the closing stages, things finally came together for Fermoy last year as they overcame Charleville in the intermediate final. They will carry the momentum of last year and getting over the first hurdle, allowing focus on progress rather than fearing an immediate return, would really settle them. But Valley Rovers will present a very tough challenge in Round 1.

INNISCARRA

Manager: Liam Linehan

Captain: John O Keeffe

Colours: Blue and white hooped jersey, white shorts, blue and white socks

First-round Opponents: Mallow

2014 Championship: Lost to Kilworth in Round 4

Star Man: John O’Callaghan

One to Watch: Sean O Donoughue

While last year was a disappointment, Inniscarra have been blooding young players which does take time. Despite their struggles, some of those younger players shone in a couple of matches last year, with Sean O’ Donoghue particularly impressive in the defeat to Kilworth in Round 4.

The clash with Mallow in Round 1 is a difficult assignment which will tell them much about where they stand.

KANTURK

Manager: Danny O’Donoghue

Captain: John McLoughlin

Colours: Green and white hooped jersey, white shorts, green and white socks

First-round Opponents: Castleyons

2014 Championship: Lost to Newcestown in the semi-final

Star Man: Lorcan McLoughlin

One to Watch: Darren Browne

Having finally escaped the intermediate grade in 2013 after a final defeat in 2012, Kanturk carried their fine form into the premier championship, getting all the way to the semi-final only to fall against Newcestown last year.

League performances have been up and down so far, but there is no doubt that they have the capabilities to have a sustained run, especially as they were so close to reaching last year’s final.

Once football commitments don’t interfere, they will surely be in the mix in September/October.

KILWORTH

Manager: Alan Kenny

Captain: Maurice McNamara

Colours: Red jersey with white trim, white shorts, red socks

First-round Opponents: Blarney

2014 Championship: Lost to Kanturk in the quarter-final

Star Man: Noel McNamara

One to Watch: Will Condon

After many years of trying to get out of the intermediate grade, including plenty of narrow defeats, things all came together for Kilworth in 2012 as they beat Kanturk.

After more than holding their own in the last two seasons at Premier Intermediate level, Kilworth will look to push on to the latter stages of the championship. With a small squad it will be difficult, but they are more than capable.

MALLOW

Manager: Dermot O’Riordan

Captain: Fionn O’Neill

Colours: Red jersey with yellow trim, white shorts, red socks

First-round Opponents: Inniscarra

2014 Championship: Lost to Valley Rovers in Round 4

Star Man: Cormac Murphy

One to Watch: Alec Luttrell

The North Cork side have been tipped as one of the contenders to lift the cup over the last few years, but for some reason or another it has not panned out that way. Mallow are a young team and in the league the signs so far are very encouraging — one defeat in five games with a +43 points difference.

There is a lot riding on the Inniscarra game, especially as the losers face Cloyne or Watergrasshill.

NEWCESTOWN

Manager: Eugene Desmond

Captain: TBC

Colours: Red and yellow hooped jersey, white shorts, red and yellow socks

First-round Opponents: Tracton

2014 Championship: Lost to Ballyhea in the final

Star Man: Luke Meade

One to Watch: Conor O’Neill

Last year, Newcestown carried reasonable league form into the championship, getting all the way to the final only to fall against an excellent Ballyhea team.

Looking at recent history, Newcestown can take solace from the fact that Courcey Rovers and Ballymartle recovered from PIHC final losses to claim the title. Will be favourites to progress past Tracton and into the fourth round, and thereafter a lot will depend on how fixture commitments fall.

TRACTON

Manager: Patrick Murphy

Captain: Ronan Walsh

Colours: Red and green hooped jersey, white shorts, red and green socks

First-round Opponents: Newcestown

2014 Championship: Lost to Kanturk in Round 4

Star Man: Michael O’Sullivan

One to Watch: John Good.

Since reaching the final in 2010, Tracton have struggled to challenge, with Kanturk ending their interest at Round 4 last year. The current squad is largely the same as that which reached that decider, so there is plenty of experience there and they will look at the first-round clash with beaten finalists last year Newcestown as a great chance to build some momentum ahead of the summer.

Donal Kiely and Leaving Cert student John Good could provide a bit of X factor (if available) and as 2010 proved, a run of games could do wonders for the Minane Bridge side.

VALLEY ROVERS

Manager: Joe Crowley

Captain: David Lynch

Colours: Green and white hooped jersey, white shorts, green socks

First-round Opponents: Fermoy

2014 Championship: Lost to Newcestown in the quarter-final

Star Man: Kevin Canty

One to Watch: Chris O’Leary

An opening-round meeting with intermediate champions Fermoy represents a chance for Valleys to exorcise the demons of the disappointing quarter-final loss to Newcestown last year.

League performances have been encouraging, undefeated to date, and there is no doubt that they have the players to go a long way in the championship.

WATERGRASSHILL

Manager: John Regan

Captain: Sean O’Callaghan

Colours: Red jersey with white trim, white shorts, red socks

First-round Opponents: Cloyne

2014 Championship: Beat Kilbrittain in relegation play-off

Star Man: John Halbert

One to Watch: Aaron Collins

Eight years after they almost reached senior level, losing a gripping final to Carrigtwohill, Watergrasshill needed to overcome Kilbrittain in the relegation play-off to preserve their status last season. They did the same against Aghabullogue in 2012 and Argideen Rangers in 2011.

The upside of that is that anything else — apart from relegation — would represent an improvement and the Hill are cheered by the return of key players.

Kevin O’Neill is likely to catch the eye over the summer, and with few absentees from last year they will look to make a favourable impression in the championship.


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