For the first time since 2012/13, three divisions will battle it out for honours with promotion and relegation the other key issues to be decided by the end of May, writes Finbarr Buckley.
In the Premier Division, Champions Doolan’s Cow are being keenly tested by two of last season’s promoted sides; Andy Sull’s Hair and Cork Hospitals. The Hospitals inflicted a first league defeat on the Cow after a 57 game unbeaten streak following their exciting 3-2 win at the Farm, after being two down at half-time, on Sunday, December 3rd. The Hospitals have themselves remained unbeaten, recording five wins and a draw along with leaders Jay Bazz who have notched up an impressive six wins and the one draw with the Hospitals in their opening seven outings.
The experienced campaigners of Satellite Taxis and UCC United have faired poorly in their opening term, shipping five losses between them. They will be hoping for a change of fortune after the Christmas break and may already have their sights set of achieving success in the Mick Mooney Cup and Jackie O’Driscoll Cup. Martin Harvey Solicitors are still playing catch up, with only one defeat sustained in their opening three fixtures. They are an outfit with a lot of potential but have yet to make the big break through their set up deserves.
Promoted ARC Rovers have get off to a wretched start, only picking up two points from a possible twenty-one. Injuries have robbed them of some key players but their survival in the top flight could well be decided by their meetings with fellow strugglers Cheers Bar and Healy O’Connor Solicitors.
The First Division looks to be heading towards a three team contest for the title between leaders South Coast Sales Crookstown United, HELIO Inter Cork and one of last season’s long time challengers Longboats. Relegated Marlboro Trust set the pace in the early weeks but three successive defeats led to them being overtaken by Crookstown, Inter Cork, O’Brien Scaffolding and VIP Barbers.
Crookstown have put together a fine run of five successive wins while Inter Cork, despite their involvement in the latter stages of the shield and early rounds of the junior cup competitions , are currently second in the table, seven points behind the leaders , but with five matches in hand, and are the league’s only team with a 100% win ratio. Longboats remain on the fringes but unlike last season when drawn matches cost them dearly, they have already five wins to show for their efforts. VIP, Marlboro and OBS will be looking for consistency to launch a title win in the early months of January. Co. Council and Suro Cars have yet to make their mark but both are extremely competitive and might crave the cups when they come around.
Swyft Energy have taken the second division by storm with eight wins and just the one draw in their first season in football. Rob Twomey’s charges have scored an impressive 44 goals and conceded just six as they look favourites to lift the title. The Weigh Inn, Redemption Rovers, EVCore Gym and Croatia Fermoy look to fight for the remaining promotion place. Further down the pegging come the three newcomers, NetApp, Masseytown United and Frame Up while Curry House Hungry Tigers are still getting to grips with competitive football in only their second season of involvement.
Best of luck to all teams for the remainder of the season.