Pivotal weekend in hurling championshipJune 22, 2012 - 7:00am
If nothing else, the new-look Galway senior hurling championship is unrelenting. Less than seven days after the Galway hurlers dissected Offaly in their Leinster semi-final, many of the players return to action with their respective clubs for some pivotal games in the competition this weekend.
What’s more, there is not one game that does not have serious implications for their groups – and, again, in many cases for the teams themselves. For instance, the losers of the Beagh v Sarsfields, Padraig Pearses v Tommie Larkins and St Thomas’ v Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry can all but say goodbye to a place in the quarter-finals.
In the remaining senior group fixture, one imagines that Portumna and Craughwell are playing for top spot in Group B, although if Craughwell lose it will certainly put pressure on them to get a result against Castlegar, recent victors over Kinvara, in their final outing.
In any event, it’s all to play for and this should ensure that there will be some high quality fare on offer over the weekend.
Elsewhere, Ardrahan face Liam Mellows in an interesting relegation play-off game in Loughrea on Sunday (1.30pm). When these two met last year it was under different circumstances, with Liam Mellows edging that group game 2-10 to 1-12.
Beagh v Sarsfields
Since drawing with Turloughmore in their last fixture, Sarsfields have lost three first choice players. Goalkeeper Fergal Hynes has left for the United States for the Summer – and will be replaced between the posts by Cyril Murray – while Joseph Burke (collarbone) and Niall Morrissey (finger) are both ruled out after sustaining injuries in the group opener, according to manager Gerry Fahy. Kevin Hynes picked up an ankle injury in the win over Offaly but he is expected to be fit.
Beagh’s propensity in recent years to shock and amaze has continued into 2012, reflected in their opening round victory over Clarinbridge and subsequent stirring comeback to earn a draw – when all seemed lost – against Mullagh last day out. To the fore have been Kevin Keehan and Padraic Landers, who have scored 1-14 (1-12 from placed balls) and 0-11 from play respectively.
Up to now though, Beagh have always entered these clashes as underdogs, so sheltering them from a great deal of pressure and expectation. On this basis, let’s make them favourites on this occasion and see if they can live up to their billing.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.