All eyes on tonight's hurling play-off game in Ballinasloe

Craughwell's Thomas Monaghan is chased by Gort's Richie Cummins in the Brooks Galway Senior Hurling Championship at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Craughwell ran out 10-point winners with a score of 4-16 to 1-15.Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Craughwell's Thomas Monaghan is chased by Gort's Richie Cummins in the Brooks Galway Senior Hurling Championship at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Craughwell ran out 10-point winners with a score of 4-16 to 1-15.Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

An intriguing Senior B play-off between Moycullen and Liam Mellows takes place this evening in Ballinasloe as the last two places in the preliminary quarter-finals of the Galway Senior Hurling Championship are decided in the coming days.

Moycullen’s defeat at the hands of Oranmore-Maree and Portumna’s dramatic victory over Mellows last Saturday leaves these two sides in a battle for one of the two remaining spots alongside both of their conquerors and Turloughmore, Clarinbridge, Cappataggle, and Craughwell.

Of those four qualifiers from Senior A, only Craughwell had a positive result over the weekend as they got the better of Gort to clinch fourth place in group two, while Cappataggle’s draw with Tommy Larkins saw Larkins grab the second quarter-final place alongside Loughrea.

The second play-off game of the weekend takes place in Athenry on Saturday when Ardrahan and Athenry clash at 2pm. Ardrahan had two points to spare over Padraig Pearses last Saturday, while Athenry booked their place in the play-offs with a 0-23 to 0-16 win over Tynagh Abbey/Duniry.

This game will be followed by the highly anticipated replay of the U20A final between Sarsfields and Turloughmore which throws in at 4pm. When these clubs’ senior sides met last Saturday it was Sarsfields who claimed the bragging rights after an 0-18 to 0-17 win which saw them claim a quarter-final spot.

However, the real fireworks in group one were in Kenny Park where Clarinbridge and St Thomas’ served up a classic encounter. On a day when windy conditions played a factor in most games, Clarinbridge looked set to avenge their county final loss from last year when first-half goals by TJ Brennan, Mike Daly, and Sean Kilduff appeared to put them in the box seat.

A Conor Cooney strike got St Thomas back in the game, only for Gavin Lee to raise another green flag for Clarinbridge. Victor Manso’s goal gave St Thomas’ another lifeline, but Clarinbridge appeared to be holding on for the win before goals from Bernard and Darragh Burke changed the game completely, giving St Thomas’ an extra week’s rest.

The other game in that group saw Killimordaly edge out Castlegar by a solitary point on Friday night. In the battle to avoid the relegation play-off, Ahascragh/Fohenagh came up just short despite recording their first win of the campaign against Mullagh. Needing to win by nine to be assured of safety, they could only manage a four-point victory, which, combined with Ardrahan’s win over Pearses meant they were rooted to the bottom of Senior B group two on scoring difference.

In group 1 Kilnadeema/Leitrim were unlucky to miss out on a play-off spot after beating Beagh to pick up their third win from five outings, but Athenry’s victory meant they missed out on the head-to-head rule.

In the Intermediate championship Killimor cruised into their second successive final following a 2-18 to 1-9 victory over Sylane, where they will take on Meelick/Eyrecourt who defeated Rahoon/Newcastle by 1-17 to 1-12.

 

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