Clarinbridge still favourites to advance

Kevin Briscoe of Mullagh attempts to stop Clarinbridge goalscorer Paul Coen in the Coopers Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Kevin Briscoe of Mullagh attempts to stop Clarinbridge goalscorer Paul Coen in the Coopers Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

All-Ireland champions Clarinbridge had to dig really deep last weekend to come from three points down against Mullagh to set up another chance to defend their titles this Sunday at 3.30pm in Athenry.

Johnny Lee’s men finally forced themselves ahead by one and Mullagh showed great composure to equalise in the dying seconds of this county quarter-final clash. The game ended 1-11 to 0-14.

Clarinbridge enjoyed a terrific early start with a goal from Paul Coen which gave them a 1-6 to 0-4 lead. However Mullagh powered into proceedings in the second half and scores from Davy Glennon and Finian Coone looked to have Clarinbridge all but out of the championship.

However champions do not fade easily and Paul Coen hit back with a point and Mark Kerins nailed two frees which saw the Bridge go one to the good.

With the game deep in injury time Finian Coone hit the equaliser to bring the teams and their supporters back to Kenny Park again this Sunday for the replay.

Mulhollands has Johnny Lee’s side which was recently selected as “Ireland’s Best Club Down Under” as 8/13 favourites for the replay, with Mullagh at 6/4.

If the likes of Barry Daly, Mark Kerins and Eoin Forde are held, Mullagh will feel they can still make the breakthrough to the last four.

The winners on Sunday will face Craughwell in the semi-final.

Title race wide open as Portumna crash out

The county hurling title race has been blown wide open as many people’s favourites Portumna crashed out of the Cooper championship against a youthful St Thomas side last weekend in Duggan Park on a score-line of 1-10 to 0-12.

Galway intercounty midfielder David Burke scored the vital goal just before half-time which helped his side to overcome the three-times All-Ireland champions who were severely hampered by the absence of the suspended Joe Canning and Andy Smith.

Burke’s goal saw his side go in at half-time 1-6 to 0-7 to the good. With the wind at their backs Portumna fought back and, with Davy Canning keeping them in touch from frees, it was anyone’s game going into the last few minutes.

Leadership and a cool head was needed, and it was Galway u-21 star James Regan who came up trumps for his club and team manager John Burke.

Regan showed great composure to shoot three wonderful points in the final eight minutes which saw St Thomas advance by the narrowest of margins.

This famous victory sees St Thomas reaching their first county semi-final since 1989. They will face Mattie Murphy’s Gort, who saw off Loughrea 2-10 to 1-8.

 

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