Offaly Intermediated Championship moves towards business end while Junior Championship still wide open

Offaly JHC still wide open

Offaly IHC moves towards business end of affairs

Shamrocks have hit the ground running in the IHC.

THE Offaly Intermediate Hurling Championship has moved towards the business end of affairs. After two rounds and with just one set of group games to be completed, the championship is progressing more or less as expected.

It consists of two groups of four with the top team in each group going into semi-finals and the next two into two quarter-finals. In group 1, Shamrocks and Birr have full points from their two games and both are assured of a quarter-final – Shamrocks hav a better scoring difference, +15 compared to +14. Coolderry (-13) and Seir Kieran (-16) are pointless.

Last weekend's second round went as predicted. Birr beat Seir Kieran v 2-22 to 0-19 while Shamrocks, who are strong enough to win this title but could get caught, had an impressive 1-18 to 0-13 win over Coolderry.

It all leaves it very simple for the last round of fixtures on the weekend of September 25/26. The winners of Shamrocks and Birr goes into the semi-final and a draw will do Shamrocks. The victors of Coolderry and Seir Kieran will go into the quarter-final with the loser in the relegation play off and a draw will be enough for Coolderry.

Group 2 has progressed in the same manner with two teams on four points and two without one. Carrig and Riverstown are top with a whopping scoring difference of +44 points while St Rynagh's have +38. Belmont (-26) and Kinnitty (-56) have lost both their games.

Carrig and Riverstown and St Rynagh's are clearly the best teams in this group and both are through to the knockout stages. Carrig and Riverstown beat last year's junior champions Kinnitty by 2-32 to 2-8 last weekend while St Rynagh's went on a goal spree as they beat Belmont by 4-20 to 0-20. The winners of Carrig and Riverstown v St Rynagh's in the third round will go into the semi-finals and a draw will do the Tipp border side. The winners of Belmont and Kinnitty will make the quarter-finals with the loser in the relegation play off, and a draw will suffice for Belmont.

Junior Hurling Championship

There is still a lot of action to be played in the Junior Hurling Championship which is on the same format as senior – there are two groups of five but they criss-cross and the four with the best record go into the semi-finals.

The second round took place last weekend and there were second wins for Ballinamere, Shamrocks and Brosna Gaels. Ballinamere won their parish derby against Tullamore, 1-17 to 0-12; Shamrocks pipped Edenderry by 2-14 to 0-19 while Brosna Gaels were too strong for Gracefield, 1-19 to 3-6. Kilcormac-Killoughey had a 2-12 to 1-12 win over Clodiagh Gaels while the fixture between Ballyskenach-Killavilla and Coolderry did not take place and has been refixed for next Saturday.

It leaves Ballinamere (+35 points), Shamrocks (+8) and Brosna Gaels (+8) out on top on four points. Tullamore (+10), Edenderry (+4) and Kilcormac-Killoughey (+2) have two points while Ballyskenach-Killavilla (-7), Clodiagh Gaels (-8), Gracefield (-25) and Coolderry (-27) have no point – Ballyskenach-Killavilla and Coolderry have only one game played.

Round 3 fixtures are: Brosna Gaels v Ballinamere, Clodiagh Gaels v Gracefield, Shamrocks v Kilcormac-Killoughey, Coolderry v Edenderry, Tullamore v Ballyskenach-Killavilla. They take place on the weekend of September 25/26.

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