Offaly Senior Hurling Championship returns this weekend

The Aidan Bracken Building Design Senior Hurling Championship returns this weekend with the third and possibly pivotal round of games.

The Aidan Bracken Building Design Senior Hurling Championship returns this weekend with the third and possibly pivotal round of games.

There are a number of very attractive fixtures down for decision as teams look to move into position for the knock out stages of the championship.

Group 1

Pick of the games in Group 1 pits defending champions Coolderry against Seir Kieran in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final where Coolderry just came through. Both sides are unbeaten although neither has a 100% record making this game all the more important.

Coolderry have three points from two games while Seir Kieran have registered two draws from their two games.

It promises to be a very close game in Shinrone on Saturday evening and there is every chance that Seir Kieran could add another draw to the two they already have to their name.

Last year’s Intermediate Champions Brosna Gaels are the surprise leaders of Group 1 with two wins from their first two games but that 100% record will be severely tested when they take on Kilcormac/Killoughey at 2pm on Sunday in O’Connor Park. K/K are another team with two draws from two games but if they are to challenge for top sport in Group 1, this is very much a must win game.

The third game in Group 1 is vital in terms of the places in the relegtaion play-off. Shamrocks currently sit bottom of the table and if they are to avoid another late season battle against the drop, they will have to beat Kinnitty in Clareen on Saturday evening. Kinnitty have one point from their opening two games but they would be strong favourites to get their first win against a struggling Shamrocks side.

Group 2

Old rivals Birr and St Rynagh’s meet in Kinnitty on Saturday evening and the recent record between the sides suggests that Birr will prevail to keep their 100% record intact. Birr have not lost to St Rynagh’s since 1998 winning ten of the last 11 meetings. They were pushed all the way by Drumcullen in their last game but would still be favourites to come out on top against a St Rynagh’s side who were beaten last time out against Shinrone.

Shinrone currently top Group 2 thanks to two good wins and they would be fancied to add a third this Sunday evening in Kilcormac when they face Tullamore. Tullamore have yet to pick up a point this campaign and they will need a major turnaround in fortunes if they are to bring Shinrone’s strong start to an end.

The final game is crucial for both Belmont and Drumcullen as they look to move towards safety away from the foot of the table. Drumcullen were unlucky last time out not to get something from their game with Birr and if they maintain that form they will be hopeful of getting off the mark. Belmont had a notable over Tullamore and they will be determined to add another brace of points to continue their climb up the table. Remarkably this is only the fifth ever match between the pair in the SHC, with Drumcullen winning the previous four. The most recent meeting was in 2007 where Drumcullen came out on top by 2-10 to 2-7.