Rathmore have edged in front in Division 1 of the County League but with a number of big teams breathing down their neck, they won’t be counting their chickens just yet.
Liam Hassett’s men are one point clear at the top following last weekend’s comfortable victory over whipping boys St Mary’s and they now know that two wins from their last two games will guarantee them first place and, crucially, home advantage in the league final.
The next step is to beat Kilcummin in Rathbeg tomorrow (Sunday) at 3pm. The reigning All-Ireland Intermediate champions have little to play for – they can’t realistically go down and they’re not in contention for a spot in the final – but this fixture will serve as an interesting preview of a greater battle to come.
Kilcummin will play Rathmore in the Senior Club Championship relegation playoff once both sides are finished in the County Championship, with the losers getting demoted to Intermediate level.
With that in mind, Kilcummin will be eager to lay down a marker and it should make for an interesting match back by the border.
Prior to last weekend Austin Stacks appeared to be a good bet to make the final but their County League aspirations were dealt a major blow last Saturday when they lost to Legion in Derreen. Legion were well on top in the first half and led by 0-11 to 1-0 at the break.
Stacks came out fighting in the second period but Legion stood strong to secure a superb win that gives them an outside chance of sneaking into the reckoning.
Up next for Stacks is a home game against Spa tonight at 7.30pm.
Defending champions Dr Crokes are still very much in the conversation after their seven-point win over neighbours Kilcummin. Edmund O’Sullivan’s side will relegate Na Gaeil if they can beat the Tralee club at home this evening and with another home game (against Dingle) to round out the regular season, they will surely fancy their chances of earning maximum points from here on in.
Looking at the fixture list, Kerins O’Rahilly’s, who are also joint second, appear to be in a strong position to qualify for the decider.
Rahilly’s host bottom-of-the-table Mary’s today and their last game is against Kilcummin, who will more than likely have nothing to play for.
It’s incredibly tight at the top and there’s every possibility that two or more teams could finish level on points in first and/or in second. If two teams finish in a tie for first, a toss of a coin will determine who will play at home in the final.
If one team finishes on their own in first and there’s a two-way tie for second, a playoff will be required.
At the bottom of the table, Na Gaeil look to be heading for Division 2 along with St Mary’s and Templenoe, both of whom have already been relegated.
Templenoe made the difficult decision to forfeit last weekend’s game against An Ghaeltacht due to a lack of numbers. Losing six players to Kerry duty (four senior and two junior) would be difficult enough for most clubs, let alone one as small as Templenoe, so you’d have to feel sorry for them. They have very much been victims of their own success.
Today’s scheduled match against the Legion has also been postponed due to a bereavement on the Templenoe side.
Check out the official Kerry GAA website for fixtures and results.