The remaining four fixtures in Round Two of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship take place over the weekend.
Each team has their own intentions with some hoping to book a quarter final spot, others hoping to avoid elimination with the rest either aspiring to dodge the relegation dogfight or top their own group.
O Callaghans Mills vs St Josephs Doora Barefield 17:30 on 02/09/14
A win for the Mills men is essential if they’re to maintain their bid in securing a quarter final spot, with them being in Senior B, the only way they can manage to get in the quarter final draw is by topping their group. To do this, they must dispatch of the Doora Barefield challenge.
The Mills weren’t too impressive in Round 1 against Scariff but they still managed to get the win, they will have no complaints if they can repeat this on Saturday evening. They will be counting on Patrick Donnellan, Conor Cooney, Bryan Donnellan and Adrian Flaherty to get them over the line.
Doora Barefield will be taking it one game at a time and this approach has been adapted following their seven point defeat at the hands of Broadford in the previous round. They are under pressure to get a result this weekend as they will be stuck to the bottom of the table if they fail to do so.
The bottom team in each Senior B group is automatically relegated to intermediate for 2015 and so it is imperative the Parish get a result. They will be looking to Alan O Neill, Jarlath Colleran, Kevin Dilleen and Brian Guilfoyle for big performances. Come the final whistle in this one, the Mills should be on top.
Cratloe vs Sixmilebridge 19:00 on 02/09/14
In what is arguably the pick of the round, the reigning football champions face off against the reigning hurling champions. A win for Cratloe sees them book a place in the quarter finals while it also gives them breathing space ahead of their remaining group game against Crusheen.
On the other hand, Sixmilebridge have no option but to win, a defeat would ensure they lose their crown as champions and a possible relegation battle would be on the cards.
This is possibly the greatest ever team to come out of Cratloe and they certainly deserve to win more than one county title which they secured in 2009, a win at the weekend will go a long way to prolonging their 2014 season. They will need their star names of Conor Mc Grath, Sean Collins, Podge Collins, Cathal Mc Inerney, Conor Ryan and Liam Markham at their best if they are to dethrone the Bridge.
Sixmilebridge’s hunger was one of the main reasons why Canon Hamilton was perched down by the O Garney river for the last nine months, they will need to show this hunger in abundance if they are to be victorious. The likes of Seadna Morey, Aidan Quilligan, Jamie Shanahan, Shane Golden and Caimin Morey will need to lead the Bridge charge. This game will go right down to the wire and could go either way, but Cratloe’s class should just about dethrone the champions.
Wolfe Tones vs Éire Óg 13:00 on 03/09/14
This is another fixture that has the makings of a great affair. Both sides were victorious in their first round ties, Wolfe Tones had eleven points to spare over Ruan while Éire Óg had a narrow three point win against Whitegate.
The winner of this tie will more than likely book a place in the quarter finals of the Senior A, granted they are also victorious in the final round. The Tones are managed by the Hanley brothers, Colm and Eoghan who are well used to success as they guided the Clare camogie team to the Junior All Ireland title in 2008, they are trying to build a team with a mixture of youth and experience and so far they’re succeeding in doing this.
The Townies are managed by Clare great, Seamus Durack and he is assited by Newmarket man, Diarmuid O Leary and both are top class trainers with an excellent knowledge of the game so they will have their side well prepared for the tie.
The Shannon men will be relying on Aaron Cunningham, Brian O Connell, Barry Loughnane, Ben O Gorman and Aron Shanagher to inspire a win. The Townies, without the injured Shane O’Donnell, will be looking to David Reidy, David O Halloran, Kevin Brennan and Liam Corry to stand out and deliver. This tie could go either way, but the experience of the Shannon men along with the talent of their younger players should be enough for them to edge it.
Ballyea vs Clooney-Quin 14:30 on 03/09/14
The final tie of the round sees Ballyea go head to head with the men of Clooney-Quin.
The game is a must win for both as they were both defeated in the first round. More than likely the loser of this will be fighting for their senior status as it will put them at the bottom of the group which also contains Clonlara and Inagh/Kilnamona.
Since the first round, Ballyea have made changes to their management team with trainer Pat O Rourke being replaced by Michael Guilfoyle and Donal Kelly has also been added to Robbie Hogans management team. Ballyea have been chosen by many as the dark horses for the championship and in order for them to advance past the group stages, they must win on Sunday and also overcome Inagh/Kilnamona in the final round.
Big performances from Tony Kelly, Jack Browne, Paul Flanagan, Gary Brennan and Gearoid O Connell are essential if the Black and Amber are to be successful. Clooney-Quin have fallen down in the rankings of the top hurling clubs in recent years, 2010 was the last year in which they reached the knockout stages of the Canon Hamilton and despite being consistently competitive in the Clare Cup, they know a win is vital for them on Sunday.
Peter Duggan, Fergal Lynch, Ryan Taylor, Conor Harrison and Cillian Duggan will need to put in an excellent sixty minutes for Clooney-Quin if they’re on the right side of the scoreboard. Ballyea should have enough to come out on top in this one and get their championship campaign back on track.