A big weekend for Drumcullen in the SHC "B"
IT is a big weekend for the Offaly hurling championships. The final round of group games in the Senior “B” Hurling Championship are down for decision while the semi-finals of the Intermediate Hurling Championship will take place.
Senior “B” Hurling Championship
There will be great excitement in the final round of the Senior “B” Hurling Championship next Sunday with no team out of contention yet.
It has been a very closely contested championship to date and it is a very good sign that every club has a chance going into the last round.
The top four teams in the six team championship qualify for two semi-finals. Kilcormac-Killoughey and Clara are assured of qualification with six points from their four games but any of the other four could go through or head into the relegation play off.
Birr are in pole position with four points, Tullamore and Drumcullen have three while Lusmagh are still alive with two.
The final round takes place on Sunday at 3.00pm and outside of Kilcormac-Killoughey and Clara, the other four teams have to win – a couple could survive with defeats but will be relying on other results. It is all incredibly tight and it will be a tension filled, drama packed afternoon.
Kilcormac-Killoughey play Tullamore, Lusmagh meet Birr and Drumcullen take on Clara. While Birr are in pole position, they are on tricky ground. Last year's intermediate champions have hit a rich vein of form but their game against Lusmagh is a winners' take all tussle. Lusmagh have to win, though a draw could do them but if they win they will tie with Birr. Unless Tullamore or Drumcullen draw, the head to head rule will come into play and they will go through under that – Birr will be gone then if either Tullamore or Drumcullen win.
If three teams tie on the same points, scoring difference will decide who goes through. Lusmagh will be in trouble if this emerges as their scoring difference is -16 compared to -1 for Drumcullen and +4 for Tullamore.
There were surprise results in the last round with Clara beating Tullamore, Birr beating Kilcormac-Killoughey and Lusmagh taking Drumcullen. More surprise results are very possible here and nothing would be a shock. The bottom line is that a win will definitely get Birr through and more than likely get Tullamore, Drumcullen and Lusmagh in. That is the target for each team and a fascinating afternoon is in store. Tullamore are likely to be missing their star forward Shane Dooley who was sent off against Clara and while they are well capable of a big performance, their backs are to the wall.
Kinnitty: Kilcormac-Killoughey v Tullamore; Verdict – Kilcormac-Killoughey.
Moystown: Lusmagh v Birr; Verdict – Birr.
Banagher: Clara v Drumcullen; Verdict – Drumcullen.
Intermediate Hurling Championship
The two semi-finals of the Intermediate Hurling Championship are on this weekend. Title favourites Carrig-Riverstown play Shamrocks in Birr on Saturday at 4.15pm while Seir Kieran and St Rynagh's clash in Shinrone on Sunday at 3.00pm.
Carrig-Riverstown and St Rynagh's topped their groups while Shamrocks beat Coolderry and Seir Kieran had a win over Shinrone in the quarter-finals.
They will provide two compelling games. The two group winners are the favourites but both Shamrocks and Seir Kieran will fancy their chances. Seir Kieran reached the final a couple of years ago while Shamrocks were beaten in the final last year by Birr. The impression remains that intermediate is too low of a level for Shamrocks but results don't lie and they are there three years now. They have a big point to prove and come up against a Carrig-Riverstown team who have performed very well.
Verdicts – Carrig-Riverstown and St Rynagh's.
Junior Hurling Championship
The knockout line up in the Junior Hurling Championship will be decided this weekend with the top team in both group into the semi-final with the next two going into two quarter-finals.
It is very neatly poised in both groups. In group 1, Ballyskenach-Killavilla, Kilcormac-Killoughey and Carrig-Riverstown have six points, Kinnitty four, Coolderry 2 and Shamrocks 0. Coolderry and Shamrocks can't qualify but the other four can.
In group 2, Ballinamere and Clodiagh Gaels have five points, Edenderry 3, Tullamore 2 and Gracefield 1. Ballinamere and Clodiagh Gaels are certain of a quarter-final placxe while Gracefield can't make it. Tullamore have to win and if they do, Edenderry, who have played their four games, will be out.
The games take place on Sunday at 12 noon with the first named at home:
Ballyskenach-Killavilla v Kinnitty; Verdict – Ballyskenach-Killavilla.
Kilcormac-Killoughey v Shamrocks; Verdict – Kilcormac-Killoughey.
Carrig-Riverstown v Coolderry; Verdict – Carrig-Riverstown.
Clodiagh Gaels v Tullamore; Verdict – Clodiagh Gaels.
Ballinamere v Gracefield; Verdict – Ballinamere.
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