All to play in final hurling group games

Plenty of thrilling action is expected in the final round of group games in the Brooks Group senior hurling championship this weekend.

With only title favourites St Thomas’ and senior B sides Gort and Clarinbridge guaranteed their place in the knockout-stages, it leaves nine spaces to be filled in both the preliminary quarter-finals and the last eight, with five of the six groups forced into simultaneous throw-ins.

And to whet the appetite more, there is also a distinct chance the next Galway senior manager will be announced prior to the action commencing.

The senior A group one finale takes place on Saturday at 4.30pm, with Craughwell needing to avoid defeat against Castlegar in Pearse Stadium to maintain their position within the top two, while Turloughmore will fancy their chances against already demoted Ahascragh/Fohenagh in Kenny Park.

Group 2 will draw to a close on Sunday evening at 4.30pm with an unbeaten Cappataggle still not mathematically guaranteed to progress. They take on St Thomas’ in Salthill where both sides will look to top the table and take the shortest possible route to lifting the cup.

Killimordaly will need to come up with a big win over Liam Mellows in Athenry and hope the champions do them a favour, while Mellows can still avoid the drop to senior B with a win, so a very close encounter is predicted.

Calculators may very well be required to figure out which club will emerge from group three on Sunday afternoon as Sarsfields prepare for a heavyweight clash with Loughrea, and Tommy Larkins take on Oranmore/Maree.

The possibility of three clubs finishing on four points is very much in play, with Tommy Larkins well favoured to win their tie in Kenny Park. If that comes to pass and Loughrea are victorious in Duggan Park, scoring difference comes into play, but Sarsfields will hope another positive performance will earn them a spot in the quarter-finals.

It is no less complicated in senior B group one in which three teams have yet to win a game and all have eyes on second place behind Gort.

Draw specialists Athenry take on the group leaders on Saturday in Pearse Stadium, while both Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry and Padraig Pearses are hoping a first win will vault them into second place on three points if Gort maintain their form.

Kilnadeema-Leitrim’s scenario in group two is more simple with a win over Ardrahan on Saturday in Duggan Park ensuring qualification. The draw favours Ardrahan who have a slightly better scoring difference, while Mullagh will be facing into a relegation play-off regardless of their result against Clarinbridge on Friday night.

Remarkably all four teams remain in contention in group three. Wins for Portumna and Ballinderreen on Saturday afternoon could see them potentially swap places with the current top two of Kilconieron and Beagh. Any combination of results is possible though, with only last year’s intermediate champions Kilconieron guaranteed not to be involved in the relegation play-offs.


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