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13 Aug 2022

Crucial second round of Offaly Hurling Championships down for decision this weekend

Second round of Offaly Hurling Championships down for decision

St Rynagh's Stephen Wynne and Birr's Barry Harding

THE second round of the Offaly hurling championships will take place this weekend with games down for decision in senior, senior “B”, intermediate, junior and junior “B”.

Two rounds of hurling will be completed before the football is started and it will start getting very serious very quickly for clubs.

Senior Hurling Championship

With ten teams in the Senior Hurling Championship and two groups of five, there is plenty of scope for error but there will be real pressure on any team losing their opening two games.

In group 1, Kinnitty and Kilcormac-Killoughey beat Clodiagh Gaels and Birr in their first game. Kinnitty have a bye this weekend but Birr and Clodiagh Gaels really need to get points on the board. And that will be no easy task as Birr face county champions, St Rynagh's and Clodiagh Gaels meet Kilcormac-Killoughey.

Belmont beat Seir Kieran in group 2 while Ballinamere and Shinrone had a draw that both were happy with. This weekend, Coolderry enter the fray with a game against Belmont while Ballinamere meet Seir Kieran.

Previews

Group 1

St Rynagh's v Birr: Friday, July 8 in Rath at 8pm

A huge game for both sides, particularly Birr who have their two toughtest games starting off. Getting any point from these was always going to be a bonus for them but a second successive defeat would still load pressure on to them and leave them in must win games against Kinnitty and Clodiagh Gaels.

The odds will still be on Birr coming out of the group as three qualify but this game will tell a lot more about them. They had a great win over St Rynagh's in the group stages last year but this will be a different story here. Birr have the advantage of a game under their belt but St Rynagh's are under new management and will be anxious to hit the ground running. It will be a tight game.

Verdict – St Rynagh's.

Kilcormac-Killoughey v Clodiagh Gaels: Friday, July 8 in O'Connor Park at 8pm

Kilcormac-Killoughey just barely got over Birr in the first round and the jury is still out on them but they are hot favourites to get a second win. Clodiagh Gaels lost to Kinnitty in the first round and that suggests that it is going to be a season of struggle for them, a fight against relegation.

O'Connor Park will suit Clodiagh Gaels but it is also a second home for Kilcormac-Killoughey. Clodiagh Gaels will fight with everything they have but you can't make a convincing case for a shock win.

Verdict – Kilcormac-Killoughey.

Group 2

Seir Kieran v Ballinamere: Saturday, July 9 in Birr at 5pm

The meeting of Seir Kieran and Ballinamere is one of the most interesting games of the weekend. Ballinamere are favourites but it is a big test for them, a banana skin.

Seir Kieran competed very well against Belmont and they may be turning a corner after struggling last year. Time will tell but they will relish this one and won't fear Ballinamere one iota. Ballinamere will have to be fully tuned in to win and this will tell more about where they are.

Verdict – Ballinamere.

Coolderry v Belmont: Saturday, July 9 in Birr at 7pm

Coolderry will be keen to start off well but will be anticipating a real tough challenge against Belmont. Belmont struggled to beat Seir Kieran in the first round round and that raises questions but this is the type of game they could win.

It is also the type that Coolderry could lose but they are favourites. Coolderry continue to defy predictions and they were so close to winning the championship last year. This is a big game for them.

Verdict – Coolderry.

Senior “B” Hurling Championship

The six teams are grouped together in the Senior “B” Hurling Championship with the top four teams going into two semi-finals.

Round 1 saw wins for Tullamore, Drumcullen and Kilcormac-Killoughey over Lusmagh, Birr and Clara, respectively. Defeats won't prove fatal for the first round losers but it will pile pressure on and they really need to get points on the board.

Fixtures this weekend are:

Kilcormac-Killoughey v Lusmagh: Saturday, July 9 in Banagher at 7pm; Verdict – Kilcormac-Killoughey.

Tullamore v Drumcullen: Saturday, July 9 in Kinnitty at 7pm; Verdict – Tullamore.

Birr v Clara: Sunday, July 10 in Moystown at 12 noon; Verdict – Clara.

Intermediate Hurling Championship

The Intermediate Hurling Championship will be a very interesting competitive one and it will be a while before clear favourites emerge.

In fact it will be easier to write off teams at an early stage than predict the champions and there will be plenty of twists and turns in the campaign.

In round 1, St Rynagh's and Coolderry had wins over Shinrone and Belmont in group 1 while Seir Kieran and Carrig-Riverstown had impressive wins over Brosna Gaels and Shamrocks in group 2.

Round 2 fixtures are:

Group 1

Shinrone v Belmont: Friday, July 8 in Crinkle at 8pm; Verdict – Shinrone.

Coolderry v St Rynagh's: Sunday, July 10 in Shinrone at 12; Verdict – St Rynagh's.

Group 2

Brosna Gaels v Carrig-Riverstown: Sunday, July 10 in Lusmagh at 12; Verdict – Carrig-Riverstown.

Shamrocks v Seir Kieran: Sunday, July 10 in Rath at 12; Verdict – Shamrocks.

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