A mouth-watering contest between current All-Ireland champions Portumna and Craughwell outfit is the highlight of this weekend’s Galway Senior Hurling Championship action.
With two county senior hurling championship games scheduled this Sunday in Kenny Park Athenry, the current All-Ireland champions Portumna take on an efficient and improving Craughwell in the semi-final at 4pm, preceded by the meeting of Ardrahan and Beagh in a county quarter-final.
Portumna are masters of doing what has to be done at this stage of the championship and they will look to the usual suspects of Joe and Ollie Canning and the Hayes brothers to get over this fence.
Owen Treacy, Ronan O' Meara and Martin Dolphin are fine hurlers too and, while they looked lethargic enough in their 2-15 to 1-17 victory over Loughrea in their quarter-final, they seem to have the capacity to time their championship run very well.
That said, the first county senior title that many of their older players won was 11 years ago in 2003 and time has moved on a good bit since then.
Kevin Hayes, Ollie Canning, Niall Hayes and Damien Hayes may not have the pace they once had and Craughwell will be trying to exploit that fact.
Craughwell have good players in Keelan Cullinane, Ger O'Halloran, Shane Dolan, Niall Callanan, Fergal Healy, Adrian Cullinane and goalkeeper Aidan Ryan, who has a very accurate puck-out.
They defeated Tommy Larkins by 0-19 to 1-13 the last day out and they will fancy their chances of reaching a county final despite being 9/2 outsiders, with Portumna at 1/8 to advance to another county final.
It has the makings of a really good game.
At 2.30pm Ardrahan meet Beagh in a county quarter-final, but that fixture depends on Turloughmore’s appeal, which was to take place last night, against being thrown-out of the county championship for playing an ineligible player.
Assuming Turloughmore are unsuccessful in their appeal to the Connacht Council and that Beagh are free to face Ardrahan on Sunday, it is difficult to see how Beagh would be up to championship speed so quickly and it is hard not to fancy an Ardrahan win.
Players such as Iarla Tannian, Maurice Callanan, Jonathan Glynn, Shane Kennedy and John Greene will have come on from the drawn game with Turloughmore two weeks ago and should be in better shape for competitive championship action.
Mulhollands agree with that view with Ardrahan at 2/1 on, and Beagh at 2/1. The draw is priced up at 8/1.