Gort and Portumna are favourites

The county hurling championship really heats up this weekend with the last eight teams standing in action, and two attractive double headers down for decision.

In Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, on Saturday, Mullagh will take on Loughrea at 3pm.

Loughrea, who last won the county championship in 2006, are favourites to march on to the semi-finals and are at 8/11 to win. However Mullagh will not be without their supporters in the market at odds of 5/4.

That clash is followed by county champions Gort taking on Padraig Pearses (4.30pm ). The champions are certainties, according to the people who set the odds and are 1/8 to advance, with Pearses massive long shots at 5/1.

On Sunday the action takes place in Kenny Park, Athenry, with Castlegar and St Thomas first out of the blocks at 3pm.

Not surprisingly, with the likes of Galway seniors David Burke, James Regan, Darragh Burke and Conor Cooney in their ranks, St Thomas arefavourites to advance in this one. They are 2/7 for the win, with the city lads at 11/4.

The final quarter-final of the weekend sees red-hot championship favourites Portumna taking on a lively Turloughmore outfit at 4.30pm.

Joe Canning, Damien Hayes and company are 3/10 to reach the semi-finals, with the Turlough men a good price at 11/4.

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