Mellows and Clarinbridge must slug it out again

Conor Kavanagh of Liam Mellows is blocked by Clarinbridge's Ryan Ellis in action from the Galway Senior Hurling Club quarter finals at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Conor Kavanagh of Liam Mellows is blocked by Clarinbridge's Ryan Ellis in action from the Galway Senior Hurling Club quarter finals at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

The last remaining county senior hurling semi-final berth is expected to be decided on Sunday in Kenny Park (2pm ) when city side Liam Mellows take on Clarinbridge in an eagerly anticipated replay, following last weekend's dramatic draw.

The sides drew 0-18 to 1-15 at the same venue after Mellows failed to find the net, despite having two good early goal chances.

The winners of this quarter-final will take on Cappataggle who were impressive 0-19 to 0-14 winners over 2015 champions Sarsfields in Duggan Park.

Liam Mellows will hope to hit the ground running in three days' time as they had not played in championship action for five weeks, and that showed in the first half when Clarinbridge looked the sharper outfit despite the loss of midfielder Patrick Fahy after 10 minutes through injury.

Mellows had topped the senior A group one table with four wins from five, but it took them a while to find their groove, and the loss through injury of the experienced Aonghus Callanan after 14 minutes did not help their cause.

The Bridge, having played twice in that five-week period, looked the more accomplished side in the first 30 minutes and they led by 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time, despite playing into the wind.

Michael Daly (0-2 ), Evan Niland (0-3 ) and goal scorer Stephen Forde all caught the eye in that first half.

Stephen Forde hit 1-04

Forde, who was his team's top scorer with 1-04, hit a crucial goal late in the first half when he flicked home from close range after a good save by Mellow's goalkeeper Kenneth Walsh.

Despite looking a bit flat in that first half, the impressive accuracy of free-taker Adrian Morrissey and former Kinvara man Conor Kavanagh keep Mellows on the coat tails of the Clarinbridge lads, who were county champions back in 2010.

The city men came out in better fettle in the second half and settled to the task at hand, having a particularly impressive last quarter.

They were six behind on 40 minutes, trailing by 1-12 to 0-9, and looked in serious danger of going out of the championship.

However they rallied well with Jack Forde making a big impact off the bench as he notched two points from play, and Tadhg Haran really came into the game and also raised two white flags.

Morrissey's accuracy from frees was critical to their getting a second bite of the cherry this weekend and he ended the game with 0-11 (7 frees ) in a polished display.

Their defence improved too in the last 20 minutes and started to nullify the Clarinbridge forward line with full-back Seán Morrissey, David Collins and Michael Conneely to the fore.

Both sides will feel they can improve on what they produced last weekend, and the extra-game should help the winners in preparation for a semi-final clash with Cappataggle.

Liam Mellows: K Walsh, C Reilly, S Morrissey, B Leen, M Hughes, D Collins, M Conneely, K Lee, J. Hastings, D Fahy, T Haran (0-2 ), R Elwood (0-1 ), A Morrissey (0-11, 0-7 frees ), C Kavanagh (0-2 ), A Callanan. Subs: C Elwood for Callanan inj (14 ), J Forde (0-2 ),for Fahy (42 ), S Barrett for Lee (42 ).

Clarinbridge: A Bindon, D Ryan, S Bannon, S Kilduff, A Armstrong, B Keane, R Hayes, P Foley, B Daly (0-1 ), B Moran (0-1 ), S Forde (1-4 ), M Daly (0-2 ), N Armstrong, C Salmon (0-1 ), E Niland (0-4, 0-3 frees ). Subs: R Ellis for Foley inj (10 ) E Forde for Ellis (37 ); A Monaghan for A Armstrong (57 ).

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