Was working last night and completely forgot about the draw until I checked the phone this morning and what a championship we have in store. Group 1 - Dromina, Kilshannig, Killavullen and Charleville. You'd be a brave man to pick the two to advance from this group. Every game has potential to be a cracker. Dromina - After a very disappointing year last year. Speaking to friends from the club there was questions of commitment about some of the players. Management walked away after the game against Shanballymore last year. First day out against an albeit weakened Kilshannig side they were superb and looked rightly up for it. Then against Buttevant they seemed to just be going through the motions and were lucky in the end to get the win. Again against Shanballymore they seemed like a side that just expected to show up and win. A boot in the arse for some players will be needed but I'm sure they'll relish having a crack off champions Kilshannig and near neighbours Charleville. Cork Minor goalkeeper O'Connell added to the ranks also, although having watched them for the past few years it's probably the one position they didn't need replacing. Kilshannig- A puck of a ball away from being King's of the county to facing a potential group stage exit the following year. If they stay injury free they'll obviously be up there again, but with Premier Intermediate football this year it'll take a lot to compete in both. A fierce overlap in both football and Hurling squads. A tough ask but one they'll tackle head on. Killavullen- A team on the up the whole time. Gave Kilshannig a good work out but just seemed to lack that bit of special something. Plenty of underage talent coming up. Will be raring for a go off of Dromina after losing to them 2 years ago in a fiery affair over in Mourneabbey. Would fancy them to qualify out of the other 2 groups but they'll be up against it here. Charleville- Probably the hardest team to write about simply because you never know who or what they'll have. Had some terrific minor teams the past few years, the like of DJ Collins will cause problems for any corner back at this level. Danny O'Flynn is easily one of the best hurlers in Avondhu let alone to be playing second team hurling. 2 years in a row now they've been put in the toughest group. I do fancy them to cause an upset. Group 2. Buttevant, LC Gaels, Ballyhea and Clyda Rovers. In comparison to group 1 this looks a bit more straightforward but there's rivalries and bragging rights on the line here. Buttevant- Have become a very hot and cold team over the past few years in hurling ever since the footballers started motoring. Wouldn't know what kind of commitment there is to the hurling this year. Mark Lenihan would cause problems for any back line and Chris Toole is always worth a few points but they may be over reliant on the 2 lads. Will love the thought of raining of LC's parade. Almost beat both Kilshannig and Dromina last year so don't go writing them off. LC Gaels- Obviously my own club. On the back of the best year we've had in a long time. No underage players that are coming through this year but with the injured Sean Delee, Josh Quinn and Shane Coleman all back it adds firepower to the team that relied on Colin O'Brien too much once it lost Quinn and Coleman. A new transfer in also who'll add steel to the back line. Will fancy their chances of progressing out of this group. Ballyhea- On the back of a county win the spirits will be high. Again being a second team you never know what they will have, but what I can assure you they will have is experience. Neil Ronan still firing, legs might not be what they once were but the shooting hasn't changed. I think they might not get a win in this group but I could be proven very wrong. Clyda Rovers- Coming off the back of a very disappointing year for their standard. A shooting exercise against CTR before blowing a comfortable lead to Killavullen found them runners up in their ground. Lost to the Gaels in a titanic battle over in Ballyclough. With a fully fit squad they'll take stopping. Saw their u21's recently against Kilara Og and although they lost they had some brilliant individual displays. Should qualify from this group. Group 3. Ballyhooly, Araglen, Harbour Rovers and Shanballymore. Ballyhooly- I don't know what it is about these lads. Every year I think they'll be real contenders and every year I'm made look very silly. They have the players, they have the hurling in abundance. I don't know is it a mental block or a lack of something between the legs. For me Sean Linehan has to play at centre back. He isn't a forward so I'm not sure why they have tried turning him into one. Centre back is one of the most important positions on the pitch and they have one of the best junior A centre backs in the country playing in the forwards. Mind boggling. Should make it out this group realistically but if SBM give them a fight they may wilt. Araglen- I think Araglen may be out of their depth at this level. Have some good young players such as Ben Carey but with the utmost respect they can't compete at this level at the moment. Great work going on underage with Kilworth, but they'll need 5 or 6 more Ben Careys coming through before they'll be able to make it out a group. Would love to be proved wrong however. Harbour Rovers- To call them a one man team would be a terrible insult however after watching them get beat by Kilshannig last year you really can't help but feel there is an over reliance on Condon. They have some fantastic hurlers and young O'Brien looks a great prospect but if you can stop Condon you can stop Glanworth it seems, Lucky for them there really has only been one side who have been able to quieten him in the past. Should top the ground and if they don't have to face Kilshannig at any stage they'll be tough to stop going all the way. Overall some terrific games in store. Couldn't even pick the group winners let alone the overall winners, but I'll give it a go. Winners - Clyda
Great preview Honda, fair play! I agree with almost all of what you said about each team. Should be a good competition again this year. There are 5 or 6 teams with a genuine chance of winning it out if they can get the balance right. Kilshannig will be favourites again but it wouldn't surprise me if there is a different name on the cup this year.
Here is the Avondhu draw in full:
North Cork Junior A Hurling Championship 2023 Draw.
Liscarroll Churchtown Gaels
Winners meeting the winners of Duhallow in the first round of the county. You'd expect that to be Dromtarriffe but Newmarket have Donal Hannon back from England and Hugh O'connor is just as good with the small ball as he is with the big ball.
They pulled the plug on merging the Duhallow and Avondhu leagues which I think will hinder Dromtarriffe and Newmarket. Outside of those 2 sides I don't think there's a Duhallow side who would make it out of a group in Avondhu.
From imokilly. You’d imagine cobh will be favourites. They seemed to manage both codes well last year. Being premier junior this year in football I don’t expect them to be in business end. They got a good draw last year so expect them to go far in hurling. Carrig and itas are ageing teams but being first teams you have to give them respect. Bride rovers have a lot of underage talent coming through so I’d expect them to be strong along with Killeagh.