*Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
Inagh-Kilnamona, Sixmilebridge, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Clonlara will contest this year’s Under 15A Hurling Championship semi-finals following a hectic two match blitz over the past week.
Monday’s juicy final round will confirm the last four pairings as table toppers Inagh-Kilnamona and Sixmilebridge lock horns in a repeat of last year’s Under 14A decider as do St Josephs Doora/Barefield and Clonlara.
Timely goals through Steven Murphy, Thomas O’Halloran, Fred Hegarty and Eoin Hegarty protected Inagh-Kilnamona’s perfect start with a 4-16 to 3-15 away win over Clarecastle on Monday evening while Clonlara cemented their place in the business end with a convincing 4-18 to 0-16 victory over Éire Óg.
Kilmaley are the only team assured of a place in the knock-out stages of the Under 15B Championship with two games to spare following their fourth win in a row, this time against Corofin/Ruan by 4-19 to 1-09 on Monday evening. However, with six quarter-finals places on offer from Group 1, Ballyea, Clooney-Quin, O’Callaghan’s Mills/Bodyke, Cratloe and Newmarket-on-Fergus are best placed to join them.
Neighbours Cratloe and Newmarket-on-Fergus actually met in Pairc Micheál Uí hEithir on Monday evening when decisive goals from Jack Rafferty, Ian O’Brien and Jack Daly handed the hosts the derby honours by 3-10 to 0-08.
The final two Under 15B Quarter-Final spots will be filled by a play-off between the 7th and 8th placed sides in Group 1 which are currently occupied by Tulla and Feakle/Killanena against the top two from Group 2 which will likely comprise of Whitegate and the winner of next Monday’s penultimate round showdown between Wolfe Tones and Scariff/Ogonnelloe.
Whitegate’s 4-17 to 1-11 win over the Banner on home soil on Sunday afternoon kept up their winning start while back-to-back successes in five days have aided Scariff/Ogonnelloe’s late surge. The amalgamation’s 3-18 to 2-14 win over Parteen was aided by goals through Ben Sweeney, Donncha Crotty and Paul Rodgers albeit that Luke Tobin was also inspirational for a defiant Parteen.
Zak Phelan’s hat-trick of goals wasn’t enough for hosts Sixmilebridge to halt Ballyea from shading a top of the table showdown in the Under 13A Hurling Championship by 2-10 to 3-05 on Friday evening. Despite being only the third of nine group matches, both sides held perfect records but it was Ballyea, backed by eye-catching displays from goalkeeper Harry Keane, Marc Kennedy and Eoin O’Connor, that eventually weathered the home storm.
First half goals from Liam Casey and Evan Cleary were matched by Zak Phelan who impressively added a third just before the final whistle for a ‘bridge side, led by Rory Chaplin, Dylan Keogh and Conor Peacock, that just came up agonisingly short.
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield and Éire Óg joined Sixmilebridge and Inagh-Kilnamona at the head of the chasing pack while Clarecastle and Tulla secured first wins to put themselves in the mix for semi-final positions.