St Thomas and Gort favourites to advance

The two county senior hurling semi-finals take place this Sunday at Kenny Park in an attractive double header.

First up is Craughwell and St Thomas (1.30pm ), followed by reigning champions Gort and a youthful Sarsfields at 3pm.

In the quarter-final clash St Thomas had far too much at the end for Loughrea, winning by 3-15 to 0-12, and they are 1/2 favourites to take down Craughwell on Sunday.

Stephen Glennon’s Craughwell were 0-21 to 2-14 winners over Liam Mellows in their quarter-final, with Niall Healy the scoring star with 0-12 (eight frees ). Jamie Ryan (0-3 ) and Stephen Hynes (0-2 ) were the other main scorers. 

Other players who will have to produce big displays on Sunday include Shane Dolan, Adrian Cullinane, young Thomas Monaghan, and midfielders Niall Callanan and John Ryan. Verdict: St Thomas

Gort and Sarsfields

Current champions Gort defeated Portumna by 1-19 to 0-19 the last day out and they had good performances from Tadgh Linnane, Greg Lally, Michael Mullins, Brian Regan and Richie Cummins. 

Wing forward Aidan Helebert hit nine points (six frees ), and on the other wing Jason Grealish had a fine afternoon, hitting five points from play.

The experienced Gerry Quinn also made a good contributio, notching the all-important goal. With Albert Mullins and Paul Killilea also coming off the bench, the management team of Gerry Spellman, Matt Murphy, Peter Cummins, John Lyons and Shane Counihan have good strength in depth.

Sarsfields were too strong for Padraig Pearses, powering to victory by  2-14 to 0-12.

Sarsfields, who last won the Tom Callanan Cup in 1997, are looking to get to their first county final in 13 years.

If they are to get to the 2015 final, they will need powerful performances from team captain Joseph Cooney and his midfield partner Thomas Spellman, defensive lynchpins Darren Skehill and Niall Quinn, while up front Alan Ward, Noel Kelly and Kerril Wade will have to be efficient in front of the posts.

The bottom line is that Sarsfields will have to produce a really top-class display if they are to stop Gort on their drive for two-in-a-row. Verdict: Gort

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