Gort, St Thomas and Loughrea were the standout performers on a busy weekend of club hurling action as the Galway Senior Hurling Championship made a welcome return following a four-month hiatus.
Last year’s beaten finalists Gort gave Sarsfields a 13-point trimming, 1-24 to 0-14, in a dominant display to overtake the Bullaun/New Inn side on top of Senior A Group 2 standings after the third round.
A strong opening quarter in which the south Galway side raced in to a 0-7 to 0-1 lead laid the foundations for this comprehensive victory.
Gavin Lally made a fine stop from a Niall Morrissey penalty when leading 0-13 to 0-5 on the stroke of half-time, with Kaelan Higgins’ late goal wrapping up a comfortable victory.
Loughrea were also big winners in the group, finishing strongly to edge out old rivals Portumna 0-20 to 0-17 in Kenny Park on Sunday, and join Gort and Sarsfields on four points with Joe Mooney impressing in midfield.
After a summer of upheaval following the departure of Dessie O’Brien, Mullagh registered their first win of the campaign when outscoring Cappataggle 0-6 to 0-2 in the closing stages to come out on top on by 2-16 to 0-20 – Sean Hardiman and Eoin Dolphin with the all-important goals.
St Thomas’ recorded a comprehensive victory over perennial contenders Craughwell to go top of Group 1 in Senior A following an impressive 2-21 to 3-13 victory.
St Thomas registered 1-15 in a superb opening half to lead by eight points, and in truth, never looked like being caught with Darragh Burke, David Burke and Bernard Burke forming a formidable half-forward line which accounted for 1-12.
Liam Mellows draw with Tommy Larkins
Defending county champions Liam Mellows join St Thomas on five points at the summit of Group 1 after they shared the spoils with Tommy Larkins, who have now drawn all three of their championship games to date.
Jason Flynn was the hero of the hour for Larkins, landing a last-gasp free in response to an Adrian Morrissey point seconds earlier, earning his side a deserved share of the spoils. It was a nip and tuck contest in which Larkins led for much of the second half, despite the sending off of Conor Gardiner after 42-minutes.
Castlegar dished out a 3-22 to 0-10 drubbing over a hapless Kilnadeema/Leitrim side shorn a number of key starters in Duggan Park on Sunday.
Castlegar now move to three points in a group in which it appears five sides are set to battle for four qualification spots, with Kilnadeema/Leitrim looking destined for the drop back to Senior B.
In Senior B, Turloughmore strengthened their grasp on Group 1 with an impressive 0-21 to 0-17 win over Clarinbridge in Kenny Park on Saturday.
Deadlocked at 0-15 apiece after 52 minutes, Turloughmore finished strongest to record an important win as they look set to jump straight back up to Senior A ranks for 2019.
Killimordaly and Beagh played out a thrilling 2-16 to 0-22 draw with Rory Gantley landing a last-gasp free from the side-line to secure a share of the spoils, while Ballinderreen secured their first points of the campaign with a 3-17 to 1-11 trouncing of Ahascragh/Fohenagh.
Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry are sitting pretty atop Group 2 following their 4-21 to 0-13 destruction of Moycullen, while Ardrahan and Padraig Pearses helped their qualification hopes with victories over Athenry and Abbeyknockmoy respectively.