The draw for the quarter-finals of the Galway Intermediate Championship has produced some tasty ties in what is one of the most competitive championships for many seasons.
Five or six teams will have real belief they can go all the way and gain promotion following strong showings in the group stage.
The first fixture of the last eight is the meeting of St Brendan’s and Corofin in Duggan Park on Saturday at 2pm.
The Ballygar and Newbridge-based side has proven that last season’s run to the semi-final, the first since being promoted from junior, was no fluke.
Unbeaten in the group stage, only drawing their final game with Oranmore-Maree, St Brendan’s have played all their group games in Duggan Park, and that familiarity with their surroundings may give them an early advantage.
Corofin suffered their first defeat of the campaign to Glenamaddy in the last round in terrible conditions in Kenny Park. This is a tough game to call, but St Brendan’s may have the edge over a youthful Corofin side.
One of the favourites for the competition, Dunmore MacHales, will play Kilkerrin-Clonberne in the second fixture of the weekend. This game takes place in Tuam Stadium at 3pm on Saturday.
The Shafts were beaten in last year’s final, and are right back in the mix again this season. They came through the group stages with three wins from three and will be hot favourites for this one too. The form of Padraig Costello has been a bright point for manager Gary Delaney so far this campaign.
Kilkerrin-Clonberne put the distraction of the Shane Walsh transfer to one side and put in a really solid showing in the group stages. However, they may feel the loss of the Galway star more than ever now as they enter knockout football.
The stand-out tie of the weekend is the clash of Oileáin Árann and Michéal Breathnach on Saturday afternoon at 3pm in Pearse Stadium.
The islanders have been one of the most impressive sides to date in the championship, despite the absence of their main man in the form of Seán Mulkerrin, who suffered a nasty injury for NUIG at the beginning of the calendar year.
Their work rate for each other off the ball is phenomenal and it has been the platform for their 100% record to date. Michéal Breathnach has been knocking on the door for a number of seasons now and will be aiming to go one better than last year and reach the final four. The club has the personnel to do so, but inconsistency has let them down at times.
The final fixture of the last eight is the meeting of Kilconly and Glenamaddy in Tuam Stadium at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
Kilconly will be reeling from their loss to near neighbours Dunmore MacHales almost a fortnight ago. However, they can take solace in boasting a star forward in former Galway panellist Paul Mannion, who hit 11 points in that defeat. However, they are coming up against another form team in Glenamaddy. Having won all three group games, there is massive belief in these Glenamaddy players, who should have confidence to overcome this particular challenge.
Intermediate quarter final fixtures
Saturday September 24: Corofin v St Brendan’s, 2pm Duggan Park; Dunmore v Kilkerrin/Clonberne, 3pm Tuam Stadium; Oileáin Árann v Michael Breathnachs, 3pm Pearse Stadium; Sunday 25, Kilconly v Glenamaddy, 3pm Tuam Stadium.