It is usually difficult and can take a few years for most teams to adjust to the step-up from intermediate to senior level in either hurling or football.
However the 2009 intermediate champions, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry, have taken to senior championship hurling like ducks to water.
They have beaten Gort, Castlegar, and now Liam Mellows last weekend, as they have marched into the county semi-finals.
Former Galway full-back Liam Hodgins was magnificent in that position for his club last Sunday evening in Kenny Park and his teammates fed off his powerful display to turn in a tremendous second-half display.
They were three points down, 0-8 to 0-5, at half time but they outscored their illustrious opponents by 1-07 to 0-3 in the second period. Mellows had no answer to them in that half.
It was in the third quarter when they conceded 0-6 without reply when Mellows lost this game.
When you do not score for almost 20 minutes in the second half of a county championship quarter-final hurling match, you are dicing with an earlier than anticipated exit, and that is just what Mellows received.
When county minor Shane Moloney danced his way through the Mellows’ defence to hit a cracker of a goal in the last 10 minutes, there was going to be no way back for Brian Hanley’s men.
Moloney’s county minor colleague Pádraic Brehony, who lined out at midfield for Mattie Murphy’s minors this season, impressed again for Abbey-Duniry at centre-forward, hitting two important points in that purple patch.
Mellows struggled at midfield where Ger Burke and John Breheny had fine games for the victors and behind them Paul Gordon, Karl Kavanagh and John Shiel were dominant.
Mellows will be disappointed not to be facing Clarinbridge in two weeks’ time, but they can have few complaints. When the chips were down, they did not produce.
John Lee at full-back tried valiantly and David Collins had a fine first half and added some urgency when he was pushed forward late in the day, but they did not match the work-rate, passion or intensity of the winners in the second 30 minutes.
Mattie Kenny will be delighted with his team’s progress and, while Clarinbridge will start as hot favourites to advance in the semi-final, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry will take a lot of belief from the past fortnight.
Their opponents Clarinbridge, who have been producing very high score, made light work of Tommie Larkins in their semi-final and won easily on a score-line of 2-19 to 1-13 with Alan Kerins and Eoin Forde getting their two majors.
Portuma back in the
When you are playing the county champions for the past three years, the last thing you want to do is let them off to a flyer.
That is exactly what Mullagh did when they allowed Conor O’Hare and Kevin Hayes in for three early goals to put serious daylight between the sides in Duggan Park last Sunday.
The champions led by 3-3 to 0-6 at the interval, and it was impossible to see Mullagh coming back from their early trauma. Despite Portumna never really getting into high gear, Mullagh did not and eventually went out of the championship by 10 points, 3-12 to 0-11.
Portumna will now face Loughrea in the semi-final in two weeks’ time, as they aim to reach their eighthsuccessive county final.
Loughrea, who won the final in 2006, defeated Craughwell with a late goal by Johnny Maher to advance by 1-12 to 0-12.
The draw for the semi-finals of the county hurling championship which took place last Sunday night sees Loughrea v Portumna and Clarinbridge v Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry.
The games will be played on Sunday October 10 in Kenny Park Athenry.