Manager: Clem Smith
Captain: Maurice O’Sullivan
Last year: Returned to the top table after re-grading to intermediate back in 2003.
On the rise: 20-year old Pa O’Callaghan clipped five points from play in last year’s county final. Corner-back Luke Hanley is another budding talent.
On the mend: James Hennessey and Kieran Morrissey are both long-term casualties, the latter nursing a broken leg.
League hints: Most promising. Sit fourth with just one defeat from six. Overcame Newtownshandrum, Douglas and Killeagh, stalemate against St Finbarr’s and Na Piarsaigh.
Match-winner: Neil Ronan cannot be expected to carry the can. John and Gavin Morrissey were consistent in their scoring returns last summer. Same again is required, even if the standard of opposition has moved up.
First round rivals: Blackrock in the opening game of tomorrow’s double-header at Fermoy. Not a bad draw in terms of easing themselves back into senior life.
Summer signs: Victory on Sunday would take the pressure off as they wouldn’t fancy a round 2 clash against either Douglas or the Barr’s. Relegation material they are not.
Manager: James O’Mahony
Captain: Brian Corry
Last year: Edged out by Glen Rovers in a high-scoring quarter-final tie (0-23 to 2-14).
On the rise: Liam Corry, Ciarán Allen, Jack Dwyer and Dan O’Leary.
On the mend: Seamus Corry is ruled out with ankle ligament damage.
League hints: Sixth - three wins, two defeats and a draw. Only one of two teams to claim the scalp of Erin’s Own. Fell to Midleton on their home patch by 14 points (2-22 to 0-14).
Match-winner: Darren McCarthy averaged 1-5 across their three championship outings last year. 2014 Cork U21 Rickard Cahalane is another whose graph is firmly pointed north.
First round rivals: Glen Rovers at Páirc Uí Rinn next Saturday. They weren’t too far off last September and they’ll go close again here.
Summer signs: Semis would still appear beyond them. Quarter-final berth represents a realistic and obtainable target.
Manager: Conor Doyle
Captain: Paul Honohan
Last year: Emphatically dismissed by Glen Rovers in a heated round 4 fixture. Bishopstown finished the game with 13-men as Colm O’Driscoll and Mark Driscoll were sent to the line.
On the rise: Brian Murray, Alan O’Sullivan, David Quaid.
On the mend: Denis Crowley (broken finger) and Paul Honohan (shoulder) will both miss tomorrow’s opening bout against Bride Rovers.
League hints: Won their two home fixtures against Killeagh and Youghal, but have failed to pick up a single win on the road – losing to Ballymartle, Erin’s Own and Glen Rovers.
Match-winner: Shane O’Neill offers stability and experience at the back, Pa Cronin and Thomas Murray are the go-to men further forward.
First round rivals: Bride Rovers at Páirc Uí Rinn this evening, an extremely tricky assignment.
Summer signs: The return to full health of captain Honohan and vice-captain Crowley is vital if they are to progress beyond round 4. Would require a most favourable draw if they are to make semis.
Manager: Br Patrick Fitzgibbon
Captain: Shane O’Keeffe
Last year: Five goals leaked against Ballymartle in round 4 put paid to their championship interest.
On the rise: Gavin Connolly and Jim Cashman’s son, Niall.
On the mend: Defensive anchor Stephen Murphy had surgery on a broken finger last week, while Eddie Cantwell is a doubt for this weekend.
League hints: Two wins and two losses from four.
Match-winner: No standout figure. David Cashman and Olan Kelleher will assume leadership roles in absence of Cantwell and Murphy.
First round rivals: Ballyhea. Could be in danger of an early set-back.
Summer signs: Like their opponents, they will be keen to avoid a second round fixture against either the Barr’s or Douglas. Will do well to remain afloat beyond round 4.
Manager: Joe Delaney
Captain: Brian Murphy
Last year: Beaten 18 scores to 11 by Na Piarsaigh in round 4 (0-18 to 2-9). Lost opening two games before bagging three goals to send Courcey Rovers into the relegation play-off.
On the rise: Shane Walsh, Brian Prendergast.
On the mend: Clean bill of health.
League hints: Mixed bag. Scored notable wins over Youghal (1-22 to 1-11) and Glen Rovers (4-12 to 0-17), undone by Na Piarsaigh, Killeagh and Erin’s Own.
Match-winner: Barry Johnson averaged 0-11 per game in their four outings in 2014. Does require, however, greater assistance from forward colleagues.
First round rivals: Bishopstown. Hard to see Delaney’s charges springing an upset at Páirc Uí Rinn this evening.
Summer signs: Newtownshandrum are likely to provide round 2 opposition and they could all too easily be dragged into the familiar relegation scrap.
Manager: Mick Mahony
Captain: Colm O’Connell
Last year: Bowed out to Youghal in round 4. Managed but a meagre 1-7.
On the rise: Daire Crotty, Sean O’Sullivan.
On the mend: Noel Furlong and Jay Horgan are long-term absentees.
League hints: Inconsistent. Won three, lost four. Hammered by Midleton 5-17 to 1-9 on their own patch. Won away to Glen Rovers.
Match-winner: Tomas Hogan’s accuracy both from play and placed ball will be crucial to their progression.
First round rivals: Erin’s Own at Lisgoold next Saturday. They’ll struggle.
Summer signs: Will reach the round of 16, but will be keen to do so through the front door as the losers of their first round fixture face either Glen Rovers or Ballymartle next time out. They won’t fancy getting dragged into round 3.
Manager: Cathal Collins
Captain: Mark Harrington
Last year: Beaten by Glen Rovers in semi-final replay. Should have been present in county decider.
On the rise: Paul Beale, Eoin Dolan and present Cork minor hurling captain Shane Kingston.
On the mend: Alan Cadogan and John Collins (both hamstring) will play no part in round 1. Philip Shine (hamstring) is expected to be fit.
League hints: Languishing third from bottom with two wins from six outings. Have suffered defeats to Sars, Midleton, Killeagh and Ballyhea.
Match-winner: Eoin Cadogan will be required to hold down the fort until the return of his younger sibling.
First round rivals: St Finbarr’s at Páirc Uí Rinn next Saturday. Won’t be as comfortable as predicted without presence of Alan Cadogan, Frankie Tobin and Odhrán Mulrooney, the latter two tied up with work commitments in Canada and England respectively.
Summer signs: Feeling was at the end of last year that Douglas were the dark horses for 2015. Injuries and departures abroad has dimmed spotlight above Collins’ troops.
Manager: Martin Bowen
Captain: Shane Murphy
Last year: Shocked Midleton in the first round, but couldn’t follow it up in round 4 against St Finbarr’s
On the rise: Cathal O’Mahony, Robbie O’Flynn, Cian O’Callaghan.
On the mend: No injuries to report.
League hints: Top of the class. Nine played, seven won. Lost 1-23 to 0-15 to county champions Sars, but hammered Midleton 4-16 to 0-15. Read what you can into that.
Match-winner: Eoghan Murphy, through his scoring contribution, tends to stick his head slightly higher above the parapet compared to his forward colleagues.
First round rivals: Carrigtwohill next Saturday in Lisgoold. League form suggests they’ll emerge on top.
Summer signs: Progressing beyond round 4 represents their primary goal, a feat they haven’t managed since 2012. Land a decent quarter-final draw and there won’t be too many surprised to see them still standing come the penultimate round.
Manager: Richie Kelleher
Captain: Graham Callanan
Last year: Lack of performance, rather than 16-point losing margin, was greatest source of disappointment in county final nightmare.
On the rise: Evan O’Connell, David Noonan.
On the mend: Captain Graham Callanan is a doubt for their opening round fixture.
League hints: Worrying. Have lost four from six. Crumb of comfort can be taken from the 0-18 to 1-10 successful revenge mission at home to Sars.
Match-winner: Patrick Horgan. Consistently posted double-figure tallies in early rounds of 2014 championship. A problem arises, however, when Horgan is bottled up, as was the case in last October’s decider.
First round rivals: Ballymartle next Saturday. A hung jury.
Summer signs: Capitalised on Midleton’s early exit to reach 2014 final. Unlikely they will travel as far this year.
Manager: Sean Crowley
Captain: Patrick O’Brien
Last year: Had five-points to spare over Courcey Rovers in the relegation decider.
On the rise: Shane Smiddy tallied 2-4 in last year’s Premier minor hurling final against Sars. Dan Landers too is likely to make an impression.
On the mend: Kieran Lane, Sean Long, Philip O’Neill
League hints: Mid-table with four wins from seven games.
Match-winner: Andy Walsh looks best placed to take over from Joe Deane.
First round rivals: Midleton at Castlemartyr tomorrow. They’ll be making a familiar trip down the back roads.
Summer signs: Wouldn’t write them off against Youghal in round 2 were Christy Cooney’s outfit to come out second best to Na Piarsaigh today.
Manager: Jerry Wallace
Captain: Peter Dowling
Last year: Caught by Erin’s Own in round 1 and relinquished their title at the hands of Douglas in round 4.
On the rise: Cork minor corner-back Seadnaidh Smyth and Darren Quirke.
On the mend: Finbarr O’Mahony (fractured hand) is out for eight weeks. Captain Peter Dowling is in a race to be fit for Sunday’s clash.
League hints: Third, boasting four wins from six. Battered Douglas (2-18 to 0-13), Ballymartle (2-22 to 0-14), Blackrock (2-17 to 0-8) and Carrigtwohill (5-17 to 1-9); battered by Erin’s Own.
Match-winner: Where to begin. Aidan Ryan and Killian Burke figured in Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s Cork defence during the spring. Further forward, Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell form a most potent partnership.
First round rivals: Ballymartle. Don’t expect them to make the same mistake as last year.
Summer signs: Have to be seen as Sarsfields’ biggest challengers, or is it that Sars are their greatest challengers?
Manager: Leonard Forde
Captain: Alan Brady
Last year: Were unable to live with Sars in the county semi-final.
On the rise: Dayne Lee, Eddie Gunning, Padraig Guest.
On the mend: Cruciate victims Darren Mannix and Christopher Joyce will play no part in 2015.
League hints: Encouraging. Sitting in fifth with three wins and two draws. Have scored victories against Ballymartle, Blackrock and Bride Rovers.
Match-winner: Keith Buckley and Padraig Gould were their scorers-in-chief last summer and will again be looked to.
First round rivals: Youghal, this evening at Cloyne. Without Mannix and Joyce, they are vulnerable. Could be the big faller of the first round.
Summer signs: Can meander a path to round 4, and possibly the quarters, but will not challenge to the extent they did in 2014.
Manager: Ed Daly
Captain: Ryan Fallon
Last year: 10-points adrift of Na Piarsaigh in quarter-final clash.
On the rise: Conor Twomey and Cork minor half-forward Tim O’Mahony.
On the mend: Sickbay is empty.
League hints: Most promising. Second with four wins and a draw from seven games. Only one of two teams to defeat Midleton this spring.
Match-winner: Jamie Coughlan’s pace, panache and penchant for goals will continue to trouble opposition defences this summer.
First round rivals: Sarsfields in the second of the double-header at Fermoy on Sunday.
Summer signs: Will arrive at round 4 via round 2. Can again make quarters; semis still beyond them.
Manager: Pat Ryan
Captain: Eoin Quigley
Last year: Secured a fourth county title in six years.
On the rise: Rising stars Eoin Murphy and Paul Leopold have been ruled out of their opening tie in the defence of the Seán Óg Murphy Cup through injury.
On the mend: See above.
League hints: Nothing to shout home about. Played five and emerged second best against Youghal, Killeagh and Glen Rovers.
Match-winner: Success can again be built on solid defensive platform. William Kearney, Conor O’Sullivan, Ray Ryan and Daniel Roche are four of the best in Cork.
First round rivals: Newtownshandrum on Sunday. Don’t expect any early turbulence.
Summer signs: Along with Midleton, they stand as title favourites. Avoid the former, and Douglas also, and they should make a seventh final in eight years.
Manager: John Cremin
Captain: Glen O’Connor
Last year: Surrendered to Sars in quarter-finals on a scoreline of 3-20 to 1-16.
On the rise: Dylan Quinn, Cian Walsh, Colm Keane, Philip Kelleher, Enda Dennehy.
On the mend: Ian Maguire (back), James Goggin (cruciate), Rory McCarthy (cruciate), Paul Harte (collarbone) and Brian Ramsey (knee) are ruled out for Douglas joust.
League hints: Bleak. Winless after five games. Rooted to the bottom of the table.
Match-winner: Damien Cahalane’s place on the Cork team, in light of Aidan Ryan’s league final inclusion, would appear in doubt. He’ll be keen to send a message to management ahead of Waterford game on June 7.
First round rivals: Douglas. Injuries are mounting, not
helped by the retirements of Ronan Curran, Robert
O’Mahony and John Crowley.
Summer signs: Can’t envisage a situation where they wind up in the relegation play-off as was the case in 2013, but neither do they look like challenging at the quarter-final juncture.
Manager: Christy Cooney
Captain: Alan Frahill-O’Connor
Last year: Somewhat out of their depth in quarter-final clash against Douglas.
On the rise: Ollie Dempsey.
On the mend: Shin injury will keep corner-back Brendan O’Sullivan out of opening bout.
League hints: Second from bottom. Just two wins from five.
Match-winner: Bill Cooper continues to shoulder responsibility and expectation of East Cork outfit.
First round rivals: Na Piarsaigh at Cloyne this evening. Will be without regular half-back Michéal Ó Cróinín and half-forward Leigh Desmond who are not available this season.
Summer signs: Will fancy their chances tomorrow. Would require favourable draw to return to the quarter-final stage for a second successive season.
Manager: Pat Desmond
Captain: Tony Murphy
Last year: Ran Sarsfields close in round 4, 0-14 to 0-11 they lost.
On the rise: Michael O’Sullivan (Tracton), Kevin Kavanagh (Carrigaline).
On the mend: Clean bill of health.
First round hints: Have yet to make their championship bow.
Match-winner: Carrigdhoun will benefit from Courcey Rovers’ departure from the top table. Daire Lordan is the big addition.
Second round rivals: Duhallow, June 19 at Cloughduv.
Summer signs: Clear hurdle of Duhallow and they could make quarters. Lack of first round game is a hindrance.
Manager: Denis Withers (Banteer)
Captain: Alan Sheehy (Tullylease)
Last year: Lost to Carrigdhoun by 1-19 to 1-12 in the opening round.
On the rise: Sean Howard (Dromtarriffe).
On the mend: Aidan Walsh, Mark Ellis, Brendan Withers, Eamonn Brosnan and Darren Browne missed the win over Carbery. None should be absent for their next outing.
First round hints: Solid. Nothing more, nothing less.
Match-winner: Lorcán McLoughlin and Aidan Walsh form a most potent midfield partnership.
Second round rivals: Carrigdhoun on June 19.
Summer signs: May well capitalise on Carrigdhoun’s lack of game-time.
Manager: Fergal Condon (Aghada)
Captain: Barra Ó Tuama (Castlemartyr)
Last year: Lost to Carbery in round 1.
On the rise: John Looney, Billy Dunne (Aghada).
On the mend: Condon will be keeping a close eye on first round of Premier Intermediate and intermediate championships over the next two weekends.
First round hints: Three first-half goals laid the platform for a 3-21 to 3-18 win over Avondhu.
Match-winner: With Paudie O’Sullivan and Seamus Harnedy lining out in front of goal, they’re not short of attacking class.
Second round rivals: UCC at Riverstown on June 22.
Summer signs: Could well capitalise if they meet an understrength UCC. Unlikely to make an impression in the championship proper.
Manager: Tom Kingston (Tracton)
Captain: Shane Hegarty (Dungourney)
Last year: Edged out by Newtownshandrum - 1-19 to 0-21 - in round 4.
On the rise: Kieran Morrison (Fermoy), David Geary (Fermoy).
On the mend: More pressing is that eight of the team that started against CIT were from either Kilkenny or Waterford. Availability rather than injuries will be their primary concern ahead of next outing.
First round hints: Two late Rob O’Shea points edged them past CIT, 3-16 to 3-15 they sneaked it.
Match-winner: Half-forward DJ Foran hit their goals last time out. Tom Devine too is closing in on a starting berth on the Waterford team.
Second round rivals: Imokilly on June 22.
Summer signs: If they have their full compliment they should have too much for Imokilly, an unlikely if.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved