Hurling championship hots up with some high stake fixtures

The second round of the Galway Senior Hurling Championship promises to be an action-packed affair this weekend as the eight defeated clubs from round one look to turn their fortunes around, and Loughrea’s clash with Cappataggle on Saturday in Group 3 is arguably the pick of the fixtures.

Loughrea were impressive in dismantling Mhaigh Cuilinn first time out, but are now facing a team that pushed them to their limits in the Division 1 League final in June. It took extra time to produce a winner on that occasion, as Loughrea kept their composure to win by 5-21 to 2-21.

Kilconieron take on Mhaigh Cuiliin in Pearse Stadium on Saturday, with this being the fixture both clubs would have had their eyes on since the draw was made. A win for either team removes them from the relegation mix, and Kilconieron may just fancy themselves in this one.

Sarsfields got the better of Craughwell in Group 4 last weekend, finishing strongly with five of the game’s last six scores to prevail by 1-23 to 1-17 and assume pole position. Next up for Francis Madden’s side is a clash with Castlegar in Kenny Park on Sunday, while Craughwell take on a resurgent Ardrahan in the first part of an attractive double-header.

Both of the games in Group 1 throw-in at 6.15pm on Saturday evening, while Kenny Park is the venue for Killimordaly’s contest with Clarinbridge. Both sides have two points in the bag already, with Clarinbridge favoured to make it two from two.

In Duggan Park the stakes are high for both Oranmore-Maree and Tommy Larkins on the back of their opening round losses, and a key factor in this contest is whether Larkins can keep tabs on former Galway star Niall Burke.

The county champions St Thomas’ have another interesting fixture ahead of them in Group 2 on Sunday afternoon in Loughrea, as Jimmy Heverin’s Portumna stand in their way. Turloughmore will arrive into Friday night’s clash with Gort in high spirits on the back of a dominant first outing, but they will need to be wary of a Gort side that put it up to St Thomas’ at times in the opening game.

With only one promotion spot up for grabs in the Senior B competition, the race to claim top spot in both groups will be intense as it ensures a place in the semi-finals. In Group 1 Ahascragh-Fohenagh and Mullagh will be looking to take top spot when they meet in Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

Liam Mellows had unsurprisingly been tipped as a contender, but they will have it all to do when they take on Athenry at the same venue on Saturday. Whichever club loses this fixture has fears of the dreaded relegation trap door to contend with, so expect a close, tense affair.

Group 2 is also delicately poised as Kilnadeema-Leitrim take on Killimor on Saturday afternoon in Duggan Park, while Beagh meet Padraig Pearses on Sunday at noon in Loughrea.


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