Wexford and Waterford may have already crowned their senior county hurling champions, but there is still plenty of top class action to look forward to in Galway as the quarter-finals of what has been an excellent championship so far are scheduled for this coming weekend.
Ahascragh/Fohenagh left it unbelievably late yet again before dumping out Craughwell by 2-18 to 2-17 in the shock result of the preliminary quarter-finals. Two goals in the space of a minute by John Finnerty and Padraic Mannion sent shockwaves through the county, and Kevin Warde’s men will be a dangerous opponent for Cappataggle in Duggan Park on Saturday evening (5.30pm ).
Earlier in the day, the same venue will also play host to the other Senior B side still in the competition. Killimordaly’s “reward” for getting the better of Mullagh in a cracking contest is the sternest possible test as they are tasked with dethroning St Thomas' (2.30pm ).
Three injury-time frees by Brian Burke saw off a determined Mullagh challenge in which Donal Reilly’s goal left only two points between the teams with less than 10 minutes to play. The step up in class this week is sizeable though, and with Conor Cooney in imperious form, it is hard to see past the former All Ireland club champions.
Four first-half goals paved the way for Sarsfields to book their last eight place at the expense of Ardrahan on Saturday, and with their previously lengthy list of injury victims appearing to be shortening by the day, Eamon Cleary’s side could be well set for what has the makings of a rip-roaring clash with Turloughmore in Athenry on Sunday evening (5.30pm ).
When Gerard O’Donoghue pounced on a rebound from a penalty to edge Gort ahead of Liam Mellows late on, it looked as if Mattie Murphy’s men had timed their run to perfection in an epic contest, but Louis Mulqueen’s side is nothing if not dogged, and Tadhg Haran once again came up trumps for the Ballyloughane outfit with two injury-time frees to seal a heart-stopping 2-19 to 1-21 victory.
For the third game running they will once again put their season on the line on Sunday when taking on Loughrea in Kenny Park (2.30pm ). Anthony Burns has been a revelation so far for Loughrea, and how Mellows handle him will be key. It will be no surprise if extra time and the dreaded penalty shoot-out may be required to separate these two teams.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kilnadeema-Leitrim take on Kinvara in the first of the senior relegation play-offs on Sunday in Loughrea. And, the race to gain promotion from intermediate has also gathered pace, with four intriguing quarter-finals to be decided. These games will also be available to view on Galway GAA’s online streaming service.
Kilconieron appear to be favourites to finally make the leap this year, but they have Kilbeacanty to overcome to reach the last four. Turloughmore take on Carnmore in a tasty local derby, Abbeyknockmoy will play Moycullen, while Castlegar and Killimor will also go head-to-head on what promises to be an action-packed weekend.