There have been thirty-nine games in the Salthill Hotel senior hurling championship so far this year, and the twenty-one sides that started out in the championship race have now been whittled down to the last eight, after last weekend’s action.
The eight teams that qualified for the quarter-finals are Gort and Padraig Pearses from group A: from Group B: Portumna and Castlegar, from Group C: Turloughmore and Mullagh and from Group D: St. Thomas and Loughrea.
In Group B in a winner-take-all tie former county star Ger Farragher shot a hugely impressive 0-9 (0-6fs, 0-1 s/l ) which alongside Martin Cullinane’s 0-5 from play, helped Castlegar to a 0-21 to 0-17 victory over Craughwell in Kenny Park last Sunday.
It was a great result for Cashel who had to line out without the influential Kevin Brady. However, as well as Farragher and Cullinane, they had big performances from Enda Concannon, Dean Higgins, Tomás Mannion and Ronan Flynn.
Craughwell were overly dependent on Niall Healy who hit 0-12 (0-11fs ) from wing-forward. They also had solid displays from Ian Daniels at full-back, Niall Callanan and Fergal Healy.
In the other fixture last weekend in Group B, Portumna disposed as expected of the challenge from Kinvara although the seasiders, with nothing to play for, did put it up to the Shannonsiders in the first half, but fell away after the interval and Portumna won on a score-line of 2-24 to 1-11.
In Group A dual senior club Moycullen had their first win in senior championship hurling since 1979 when they defeated Padraig Pearses by 1-13 to 1-12. However, Pearses who were in a relegation play-off last season made it through to the quarter-finals by virtue of points difference as defending champions Gort had a big win on a score-line of 1-24 to 2-13 win over Tommy Larkins
In Group C Mullagh also claimed their spot in the last eight after a big win over Sarsfields at Duggan Park on Sunday. They came through on a score-line of 1-21 to 1-11.
Kerril Wade had gotten Sarsfields off to a flying start with a goal in the fourth minute, but despite having Conor Dervan’s penalty saved, Mullagh still led by a point at the break.
Craig Finnerty’s goal in the last quarter pushed Mullagh seven points clear, and they ran out easy ten point winners in the finish.
Turloughmore finished top of Group C after a 2-16 to 2-11 win over Beagh at Athenry.
After a tight first half, dual star Daithí Burke scored from a penalty for Turlough, but Kieran Divilly batted a goal to draw Beagh level. However, Ronan Badger hit his tenth point of the match to pull Turloughmore clear and Burke’s late free clinched the win.
In other action an injury-time point from Galway senior star David Burke sealed a draw for St Thomas with Loughrea. Both sides were through to the quarter-finals regardless of the result and it is to their credit that despite that they served up a terrific game at Duggan Park.
A Neil Carey goal early in the second half gave Loughrea the upper hand, but St Thomas looked likely to claim the win when they hit four points in-a-row midway through the half to give themselves a 3-11 to 2-10 advantage.
However, Loughrea finished the stronger and five consecutive points meant Burke had to strike late to salvage a draw for his side.