Former All Ireland club hurling champions Athenry are currently sailing dangerously close to the wind if they want to remain in the senior ranks.
They lost their third successive game against Craughwell last weekend by 1-18 to 1-12.
Joe Rabbitte’s men must now face Kiltormer in the final group game and a defeat would see them in a dogfight to avoid intermediate hurling in 2011.
Elsewhere in Group A, last year’s runners up Loughrea were too strong for Pakie Cooney’s Sarsfields.
The town led by 0-7 to 0-2 at half-time and went on to register an impressive 3-11 to 1-07 victory. Loughrea scored two quick goals in the second half from Neil Keary and Johnny O’Loughlin and the same man added a third later in the half to seal a comfortable victory. Keril Wade was the goal scorer for Sarsfields.
In group B, Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry avoided a hat-trick of defeats when overcoming fellow strugglers Turloughmore by 10 points, 2-16 to 0-12. Goals by Shane Mooney and Ronan Madden put them on the road to victory. Turloughmore are pointless and in relegation trouble.
In the other group B game Gort went down to St Thomas’ by 1-15 to 1-13 in Athenry. Kenneth Burke netted for St Thomas’ and Galway senior panellist Richie Commins raised the green flag for Gort.
Carnmore lose again
Carnmore look to be in freefall and they went down again by a narrow margin 1-11 to 0-12 against Mullagh.
Mike Fox’s men led by 0-8 to 0-7 at the break, but a David Glennon goal turned the game in Mullagh’s favour. With three defeats on the trot and a minus 20 scoring average, things do not look too healthy for the Carnmore boys.
As expected, Portumna are setting the standard in club hurling again this season and they sealed a place in the 2010 quarter final when they defeated Kinvara 2-22 to 1-10 in a repeat of the one-sided 2007 county final in Athenry last Sunday.
Joe Canning shot 1-13 (6fs ) and the Smith brothers, Peter, Leo and Andy, all chipped in with some valuable points. The Shannonsiders led 0-13 to 1-03 at half time, and with Niall Hayes and Canning shooting past the helpless Colm Callanan, it was business as usual for the champions.
In the other group D game, Clarinbridge hit 3-21 to Killimordaly’s 0-16 in an impressive win. Alan Kerins was in fine scoring form and his side never looked in trouble.