There was acute disappointment for hurling fans around the county when news filtered through on Tuesday evening that current outdoor gathering restrictions would be maintained for another three weeks at least, meaning the senior championship will have reached the knock-out stages before larger crowd numbers can even be contemplated.
Reports had suggested an easing of the restrictions to allow maximum attendances of up to 500 at sporting events, but this now will not be the case as the Government acts with extreme caution in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases around the country.
Having a viable streaming service available is some solace to fans whose appetites would have been whetted by a string of exciting first round games, and five of the six Senior A games are being made available over the course of the weekend through the Galway GAA website.
First up on Friday evening is a high stakes clash between two teams with points in the bank already, as St Thomas take on Sarsfields at 7pm in Kenny Park, while the other Group 3 game between Portumna and Castlegar takes place in Loughrea on Saturday at 2pm and is the only Senior A clash not available to the home viewer, with both sides desperate to register a first win.
Group 2 takes centre stage on Saturday as two sides who lost close encounters last time out meet when Liam Mellows and Clarinbridge put their title aspirations on the line at 6pm on Saturday in Kenny Park. Earlier in the day one team will take pole position for a direct route into the last eight when Turloughmore take on Oranmore-Maree at 2pm at the same venue.
In Group 1 there is yet another local derby in the spotlight on Sunday at 1pm as free-scoring Cappataggle take on Loughrea in Duggan Park, while Tommy Larkins will be looking to build on their opening day win when they play Tynagh Abbey-Duniry at 5pm.
The action in Senior B commences on Saturday afternoon when Athenry and Ardrahan travel to Pearse Stadium for a 2pm throw-in, where the availability or not of Johnny Glynn will continue to be monitored. Group 2 leaders Killimordaly will play Beagh at 6pm at the same venue where a win for Gary Earls’ side will put them in a commanding position but Beagh cannot be underestimated.
The outstanding fixture in Group 1 last week saw Craughwell rescue a draw late on against Gort, with Gort now facing off against Kinvara at 1pm in Salthill on Sunday. Craughwell know a win is imperative later in the day when they clash with Ballinderreen, who were convincing winners first time out.
The overall picture in Group 3 will become much clearer once the Kilnadeema/Leitrim versus Ahascragh/Fohenagh game is completed on Sunday evening, with Ahascragh/Fohenagh favoured to continue a positive start. Mullagh will be looking to Davy Glennon to lead them to victory against Padraig Pearses on Saturday in Loughrea at 6pm.