They have certainly proved worthy of their status having made a good start. Were it not for a few late scores by opposing teams they could be challenging at the summit, but they will still be pleased with fourth place.
They will be looking to replicate the type of season that next Sunday’s opponents Tralee had following their promotion from Division Two. The Kerry side were right in the title race but have encountered a few stumbling blocks recently with defeats by Waterpark and Cashel.
Defending champions Richmond are starting to hit their stride and will feel confident of maintaining their defence of the title as they travel to Cobh. The Limerick side have a very powerful pack but it is the likes of Mike Kelleher that can really cause teams damage.
The Pirates are rebuilding with a young side and showed great character to salvage a draw from Clanwilliam last week, with Mark Chandler’s composure crucial in levelling the scores. They will need a big team performance though if they are to cause the reigning champions many problems.
Leaders Cashel dropped their first point last weekend, as they failed to secure a try bonus point but still earned a vital win over Tralee. They will just be aiming to get another win under their belts as they make the short trip to play a Thurles side who have shown they are capable of causing an upset.
Crosshaven host Skibbereen and will be expecting to continue their great start to the season. With the GAA season drawing to a close, the west Cork team continue to strengthen and will put up a strong fight but are likely to come off second best.
St Senan’s battled hard to earn a crucial victory over Old Christians last week. They host Waterpark this time around and will be aiming to build on that win, although the Waterford side possess a very powerful side that could cause the home team plenty of problems.
Kilfeacle earned their first league win last weekend and will fancy their chances of following that up with another success as they take on a depleted Clonmel team while Ballincollig and Old Christians will slog it out at Rathcooney.
Having stopped Killarney’s unbeaten start, Galbally face another side who have been in good form as they take on Kanturk at home. The north Cork team have strung together some impressive results, with Darragh Meade being a crucial figure. But they will need to pull all their resources together if they are to get the better of their hosts, who have been in scintillating form so far.
Castleisland are second in the table and were mightily impressive with their demolition of Kinsale. Things will be slightly tougher this weekend as they travel to St Mary’s, but the Kerry men will fancy their chances.
Mallow will be expecting to win their Cork derby as they host Youghal while Killarney will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat to Galbally with a success over Newport.
Ennis will be seeking to build on their first victory of the season with that win over Bandon as they take on a struggling Charleville team while Bandon and Muskerry will be aiming for local bragging rights.
Kinsale have disappointed so far this term and their early ambitions of promotion have gone up in smoke. They won’t want to see their season totally collapse, but will need a big change in their fortunes if they are to overcome a passionate Newcastle West.
The big match of the weekend in Division Three sees Fermoy host Scariff. Both sides have made unbeaten starts with the east Clare team being particularly impressive so far. They will have to contend with a big Fermoy pack as the north Cork side will aim to make home advantage count.
Another game that pits two form teams together sees Carrick-on-Suir take on Presentation with the Limerick side certainly looking likely that they are capable of making a big challenge for one of the promotion spots.
With some of the top teams set to drop points, Abbeyfeale will be aiming to take advantage but they will need to put in a big team effort to win at Killorglin, while Corca Dhuibhne should prove too strong for Bantry Bay. Dungarvan and Waterford City will be aiming to make it a pair of victory for the Déise teams as they play Kilrush and Douglas.