There are some fabulous games down for decision this weekend in the county hurling championship.
Athenry on Saturday evening is the venue many people will attend to see 2010/2011 All-Ireland club champions Clarinbridge take on Sarsfields.
Clarinbridge are under new management this season and their supporters will be keen to see if they can continue the wonderful form that saw them successful on St Patrick’s Day.
Mulhollands is confident the Bridge will continue their winning ways and has Clarinbridge as hot favourites at 4/9 with the Bullaun men available at 2/1.
That game throws in at 6.30pm. and is preceded by Loughrea and Gort at 5pm.
Gort lost out to Craughwell in the first round and will be eager to get some points on the board. Gort are 6/4, with last year’s beaten finalists at 8/13.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Craughwell take on Kinvara at 4.30pm in Ballindereen in Group D. Kinvara are 9/2 for those who would like to support a long shot, with Craughwell at 1/6.
Mullagh take on last year’s intermediate champions Padraig Pearses in Ballinasloe at 6.30 pm.
Then on Sunday, Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry face Carnmore in Kenny Park at 4pm, while at 7pm in Loughrea, Ardrahan are favourites to see off Kiltormer.
Turloughmore, having impressed against Castlegar when drawing in the first round of the Cooper Hurling Championship in Pearse Stadium, crashed back to earth when they were hammered 5-16 to 1-14 last weekend at Kenny Park by St Thomas’.
Early scores by Matthew Keating and Brian Murphy saw Turlough start well, but they conceded goals far too easily and James Burke and Kenneth Burke were first off the mark to raise green flags for the victors who led by 2-8 to 0-9 at half-time.
Three more goals in the second half, one by Galway star David Burke and two for substitute Anthony Kelly, saw St Thomas’s run out 14-point winners.
Turlough will face Clarinbridge in round three in group C and unless they find some form fast, they will be in relegation trouble. They have conceded 6-32 in just two games and those defensive issues will have to be addressed quickly.
In the group A game also in Athenry last Saturday, Portumna won in a canter over Tommie Larkins. Early goals by Damien Hayes, Andy Smith and Niall Hayes saw Tommie Larkins in dire trouble and they eventually went down on a score-line of 3-20 to 2-10.
All-Stars Joe and Ollie Canning were both to the fore for Johnny Kelly’s men and JC hit 0-11 (7fs ) and looked to be coming back to good form.
Based on this display, the bookies are correct to have them as hot favourites to regain the cup they relinquished last season.