The Galway Senior Hurling Championship hots up this weekend with four quarter-finals down for decision.
Liam Mellows and Beagh kick start the action on Saturday at 5pm in Athenry, while on Sunday it is the turn of Gort v Kinvara in Loughrea (2pm ), followed by a double header in Athenry. Craughwell face Loughrea at 4pm followed by Portumna v Clarenbridge at 5.30pm.
Defending champions Portumna eased into the quarter-finals with a 2-18 to 1-13 victory over Castlegar at the weekend. The All Ireland club champions opened strongly, with Damien Hayes setting the tone with a Portumna goal after Joe Canning had opened Portumna’s tally with a point.
However Castlegar gave it their all, and after Ger Farragher pointed a free, Cathal Connolly also struck with a goal - ensuring both sides were level on 1-1 with only four minutes played.
The sides were still tied at the break at 1-18 apiece, but crucially Portumna pushed home their advantage early in the second half when Hayes set up Kieran Ryan for a second goal for a 2-11 to 1-9 lead, and thereafter it was always going to be Portumna’s game.
Their quarter-final opponents Clarenbridge overcame Ardrahan by a comfortable 1-15 to 0-8 winning margin. Mark Kerins was the key scorer for Clarenbridge, racking up 1-10 points, and he will need to be on song this weekend if Clarenbridge are to shock the bookies’ favourite.
Kinvara’s opening half set them up for a win over St Thomas', but they were pushed hard in the end. Kinvara led 0-11 points to 0 - 5 at half time, but they were forced to dig deep after St Thomas came within two in the end. The scoreline finished 1-15 to 0 - 14.
The game of the weekend was Beagh v St Mary’s Athenry, with Beagh creating the biggest championship upset. They opened up a 0-8 to 0-2 lead, and only a late goal from David Donoghue ensured Athenry were still in with a chance at the break.
Athenry were forced to dig deep in the second half as Beagh continued to lead, but they will rue some 20 wides, as Padraig Landers secured the victory for Beagh with a late goal to finish 2-18 to 1-18 after extra time.
They will meet city side Liam Mellows who overcame Kiltormer by 1-19 to 0-9, thanks to a superb display from Aonghus Callanan. He struck the contest's only goal on 17 minutes, inspiring his side to a 1-7 to 04 half-time lead, and Mellows went on to outscore Kiltormer by seven points in the following 20 minutes with John Hughes, Shane Minton and Callanan contributing 1-14.
Carnmore lost to Gort by 0-16 to 0-14. After dominating the opening half, Carnmore led by three at the break, but once Gort went ahead with 10 minutes remaining, Carnmore failed to respond.
There were also wins for the champions of two seasons ago, Loughrea, and Craughwell.
In the senior relegation this weekend Turloughmore play Ballinderreen on Saturday at 4pm in Pearse Stadium, while Pearses and Mullagh meet on Sunday at 3.30pm in Ballinasloe.
Preliminary quarter-final results: Gort 0-16 Carnmore 0-14 ;Liam Mellows 1-19 Kiltormer 0-09; Portumna 2-18 Castlegar 1-13; Craughwell 2-14 Sarsfields 1-13; Beagh 2-17 Athenry 1-17; Kinvara 1-15 St Thomas; 0-14 Loughrea 0-19 Tommie Larkins 0-15; Clarenbridge 1-15 Ardrahan 0-07.
Saturday September 27: SH Relegation, Ballindereen v Turloughmore (Pearse Stadium 4pm ); Quarter-final, Liam Mellows v Beagh (Athenry 5pm );
Sunday September 28: Quarter-final, Gort v Kinvara (Loughrea 2pm ); SH Relegation, Padraig Pearses v Mullagh (Ballinasloe 3.30pm ); Quarter-final, Craughwell v Loughrea (Athenry 4pm ); Quarter-final, Portumna v Clarinbridge (Athenry 5.30pm ).