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Galway’s first hurling championship win over Cork since 2002 has prompted renewed hope in the county’s senior hurlers. However John McIntyre’s evolving team has little time to enjoy Saturday’s 1-19 to 0-15 victory over Cork as they head to Semple Stadium for their next assignment, an All Ireland hurling quarter-final with Waterford, on Sunday.
For the seventh time this decade the Kilkenny senior and minor hurlers will make a joint bid to get to their respective All-Ireland final when they line out this Sunday in Croke Park.
The best game of the weekend by far was the enthralling encounter of Caltra and an improved Tuam Stars. The game had everything and provided superb entertainment.
This weekend will see Freebooters and old rivals Evergreen battle it out in the FAI Junior Cup fifth round with a straight knock out for the losing team. Seanie Doyle’s side and John Maclean’s team will go head to head in Evergreen’s grounds at the Kells Road at 12 noon on Sunday.
Kilkenny’s bid for back-to-back Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship titles moves one step closer this Saturday, when the Cats face Antrim at the semi-final stage in Pairc Tailteann, Navan at 4.30pm.
Kilkenny beat Galway by two points in last year's final, while Galway's sole win against the black-and-amber in a final was in 2004 when they won a replay. Kilkenny’s Minor hurling manager Richie Mulrooney spoke to the Kilkenny Advertiser about his side’s chances this weekend. “ We are quietly confident of our chances this weekend, we have performed well all year and won’t give up.” With injuries a major worry for most managers Mulrooney is no different. “We are down our star fullback Willie Phelan who has a broken collarbone” he said. “We have replaced him with Danny Kenny and he will do the job very well”, added Mulrooney. Picking the team wont be difficult for the minor manager and his backroom team. “It’s not hard choosing the team. The top 15 for the day will be chosen because at that time they are the best in their positions but the guys not chosen will be disappointed and they should be,” said Mulrooney. Before the minors enter the fray on Sunday Mulrooney will have many words of wisdom for them. “ I will tell them to take the game to their opponents rather than the other way around. To never give up even if they are in control. I will remind them to remain focused at all times.”
Swinford made their way into quarter finals of the Mayo intermediate championship last weekend thanks to a 1-11 to 1-6 win over Davitts in Ballyhaunis. The east Mayo men became the seventh team into the last eight, with one spot left up for grabs in the competition. On Sunday in Bonniconlon Davitts will get their second bite at the cherry when they take on Belmullet in a winner takes all clash at 2pm. The play-off was necessitated by all three sides finishing level on points in their group and one game in the group not being played, and a walk over handed to Belmullet, so points difference couldn’t be taken into consideration.
With all the preliminaries out of the way we have reached the semi-final stage of the senior and intermediate championships in Westmeath. The first senior semi-final, featuring the two heavyweights of recent years, Garrycastle and Tyrrellspass, takes place in Cusack Park this Sunday at 3pm. This intriguing contest will be followed by the replayed quarter-final between Mullingar Shamrocks and St Loman’s at 4.30pm.
As the League of Ireland season drifts towards an interesting conclusion Galway United will be keen to land another Terryland Park victory tomorrow against Bray Wanderers.
Connacht head to the Dragon’s den on Saturday and for a second time already this season are under pressure to get a result and put behind them the previous week’s disappointing display.