Cappataggle qualify for third year in a row

Laim Mellows' Aonghus Callanan comes under pressure from Sarsfields' Darren Skehill in action from the Salthill Hotel Galway Senior Hurling quarter-final at Kenny Park on Sunday.  						Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Laim Mellows' Aonghus Callanan comes under pressure from Sarsfields' Darren Skehill in action from the Salthill Hotel Galway Senior Hurling quarter-final at Kenny Park on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

The line-up for the county semi-finals was completed on Sunday evening when Cappataggle qualified for the last four for the third year running when they overpowered Loughrea in Ballinasloe by 2-18 to 0-14.

Loughrea seemed to be faring better as they created a 0-6 to 0-3 lead by the 18th minute, but Alan Dolan’s excellent free-taking kept Cappataggle in touch, and after Michael Garvey struck just before half-time, Cappataggle had turned the tables, leading by 1-8 to 0-7.

Three successive scores in the third quarter stretched the deficit to seven points, and with Cappataggle's defence restricting Loughrea to just points from placed balls in the final quarter, Donal Mannion’s 51st minute goal was the icing on the cake.

Ciaran Fahy’s side, the last remaining side from Senior A group two, will once more face off against the 2017 champions Liam Mellows, who scraped through by a solitary point in both of their previous semi-final encounters.

Mellows proved far too strong for Sarsfields on Sunday in Kenny Park, emerging victorious on a surprisingly one-sided scoreline of 2-16 to 0-6, with all bar one of Sarsfields' scores coming via the free-taking of Niall Morrissey.

Mellows' second-half goals were scored by Conor Kavanagh, who is enjoying a rich vein of form, and Ricky Elwood. Louis Mulqueen’s side’s dominance was total as Sarsfields badly missed the leadership and experience of Joseph Cooney, currently in Australia.

In the race to jump out of the intermediate ranks, Kinvara caused an upset of sorts by toppling Meelick/Eyrecourt by 3-14 to 0-17, with Conor Whelan contributing 0-10. They will face Moycullen in the semis, as they saw off Annaghdown by 3-18 to 1-17.

Turloughmore’s second string advanced at Rahoon/Newcastle’s expense, and they will take on Kilconieron, who rattled over 1-4 late on to eliminate Killimor on a 2-15 to 2-8 scoreline. The replay of the relegation play-off between Abbeyknockmoy and Ahascragh/Fohenagh was postponed and will be replayed again this weekend.

Elsewhere, the debacle over the appointment of the new Galway manager rumbles on as reports emerged that Francis Forde and Noel Larkin were still unwilling to be considered as a managerial duo while county board chairman Pat Kearney was still in situ.

With the beginning of the National League looming large in less than 12 weeks’ time, there will surely be concerted efforts to come to a resolution without having to begin the selection process all over again, but the current impasse does not bode well for Galway’s preparations.

Senior Hurling semi-finals: St Thomas v Turloughmore; Cappataggle v Liam Mellows. Intermediate Hurling semi-finals, Kinvara v Moycullen; Kilconieron v Turloughmore. Minor A Hurling semi-finals, Ardrahan v Athenry; Oranmore/Maree v Carnmore.

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