County champions Portumna will face Gort in this year’s Stone Crushing & Recycling Senior Hurling Championship semi-final.
The draw has taken place for the championship semi-finals with this year’s suprise packet Mullagh up against Beagh or Loughrea who must replay their quarter-final.
There are few who would bet against Portumna again this year. Last weekend in Athenry they powered past Castlegar on a score-line of 3-18 to 1-11.
The usual suspects - Joe Canning and Damian Hayes - were to the fore for Portumna and the deadly duo notched a combined 3-12.
Castlegar worked hard and did mount a credible challenge, but two goals from Hayes and Canning did the real damage against Joe Connolly’s charges.
Portumna led by 2-05 to 0-5 at the interval and despite the best efforts of Kevin Brady, Tomas Mannion, and Cathal Connolly, there was to be no way back for Castlegar.
Portumna is the team to beat again in this year’s championship and on this form it will take some stopping. They look set to go on and emulate Athenry’s achievement in 2000 of recording a three-in-a-row.
Also on Saturday Clarinbridge were shown the exit sign by Mullagh who beat them comprehensively on a score-line of 3-17 to 1-12.
Mullagh have not been in a county senior hurling final in almost 50 years (1966 ), but they were well served last Saturday by Cathal Dervan, Niall Cahalan, who hit 0-10 (8fs ), and the impressive Finian Coone.
A hat-trick of goals by All-Ireland minor captain Richie Cummins did the trick for Gort in their exciting battle with Liam Mellows in Kenny Park last Sunday evening. The Gort men advanced by four points, on a score-line of 4-15 to 4-11.
Others who caught the eye for Gort were former Galway star Ollie Fahy, who lined out at full-forward and hit 1-02, and Gerry Quinn, who shot 0-6 (5fs ) from midfield.
The final quarter-final ended in a draw with Beagh fighting back against the wind and the 2006 champions Loughrea to eke out a draw, 0-13 to 0-13.
Midfielder Brendan Gantley equalised with five minutes left on the clock to set up the replay. Wing forward Niall Keary, who is only 17 years of age, hit some fine frees for Loughrea and ended with 0-8 (6fs ) to his credit.
The replay is on this Sunday in Kenny Park at 2.30pm.