THE respite for the Offaly Senior hurlers will be short and probably not very sweet as they return to their clubs for the second of the Aidan Bracken Building Design Senior Hurling Championship.
The decision to fix the games for the coming week has met with anger from some clubs who look set to be without players due to the fact that there was no mention of hurling games being played this weekend on the Master Fixture Plan.
The Master Fixture Plan, which is issued at the start of the year is supposed to be used as a template for players intending to make plans around games, allows for a potential round of senior football to be played this weekend. A round of hurling was provisionally fixed for the weekend of June 10 but that fell by the wayside once Offaly defeated Wexford to make it through to the Leinster semi-final.
Whatever the concerns of clubs, the six games will go ahead and it is a very important round of games for some of the sides with title aspirations come the end of the year.
In Group 1 Brosna Gaels currently lead the way but they face a Kinnitty side this Thursday who opened their campaign with a good draw against a fancied Seir Kieran side and they would be tipped to get their first win.
Shamrocks suffered defeat to Brosna Gaels in the opening round and their chances of getting off the mark this Thursday rate somewhere between slim and none as they take on defending county champions Coolderry in Rath.
Coolderry were held to a draw in their first game by Kilcormac/Killoughey but it would rate as one of the biggest shocks in recent years if they were not to easily beat Shamrocks.
The big game of the round in Group 1 pits Kilcormac/Killoughey against Seir Kieran. Both sides come into the game off the back of a draw and a defeat in this game would see them drop down the table and would leave them in a tough spot when it comes to sorting quarter final places.
A tough game to call and there is a good chance that the sides could share the points again leaving them both playing catch up in the next three rounds.
The top billing in Group 2 goes to St Rynagh’s and Shinrone who both won in the first round and will be hoping to back up those respective results with another two points on Sunday. There is little to chose between the sides but St Rynagh’s perhaps just hold the edge going into the game in St Brendan’s Park
Two sides who lost their opening games go head to head on Friday in Kilcormac with Tullamore and Belmont both hoping to get their campaigns up and running. Tullamore struggled against St Rynagh’s in their opening game but they would be fancied to get their first two points on the board against Belmont.
The third game in Group 2 pits Birr against Drumcullen on Thursday in Banagher. Much like the clash of Shamrocks and Coolderry in Group 1, it would be a major surprise if Birr were not to come away with two points maintaining their 100% start to the season.