Places in Tipperary County Senior Hurling semi-finals up for grabs

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

Email:

ewynne@nationalist.ie

Tipperary County Senior Hurling Championship

Kevin Walzer will be hoping to help Mullinahone beat Eire Og Annacarty/Donohill in Saturday's County Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Semple Stadium at 2pm.

 

Only four teams will be left standing in the Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship once this weekend's quarter-finals are completed.

The quarter-finals will be played at Semple Stadium in two double bills. 

The first goes ahead on Saturday, when Mullinahone and Eire Og Annacarty clash at 2pm, which will be followed by the meeting of champions Thurles Sarsfields and Kilruane MacDonaghs at 3.30.

On Sunday's it's the turn of Clonoulty/Rossmore and Drom/Inch, who face each other at 6pm, a contest that will be followed by the game between Loughmore/ Castleiney and Borris-Ileigh at 7.30.

If necessary extra time will be played in all games.

MULLINAHONE V EIRE OG

Champions in 2002, Mullinahone beat Killenaule, their close rivals in the South, en route to this stage and they again defeated The Robins, this time in the South Championship, a couple of weeks later.

They'll be disappointed that a defeat by Carrick Swans deprived them of the opportunity to defend their South title, and will be looking to get back on track on Saturday.

There's plenty of experience in the Mullinahone ranks, as they can call upon former Tipp player Paul Curran, who's their player/ manager. He's one of four brothers in the lineout alongside current Tipp player Sean, Alan and Niall.

Their leading lights also include Graham Horan and Jack Shelly in attack and they'll also be looking for big games from Kevin Walzer, Luke Mullally and Colin Shelly.

Eire Og Annacarty/Donohill will need to bounce back from their defeat by Clonoulty/Rossmore in last Sunday's West Final. That game looked to be heading for a draw until a late John O'Neill goal gave Clonoulty the edge.

Eire Og have county goalie Darragh Mooney between the posts and other familiar names include former Tipp player Conor O'Brien and the Foxes, Tom, Kevin and Brian.

Saturday's second quarter-final might have looked like a foregone conclusion but Thurles Sarsfields lost some of their invincibility when they were pushed all the way by Upperchurch/Drombane in the Mid Final.

Nevertheless they remain firm favourites to lift the Dan Breen Cup for the fourth year in-a-row, and of course the bookmakers seldom get it wrong.

They're strong all over the pitch and with players including county captain Padraic Maher and his Tipperary team mates Ronan Maher, Michael Cahill and fringe player Aidan McCormack, as well as Conor Lanigan, Billy McCarthy, Michael O'Brien and former Tipp player Pa Bourke, they should have too much firepower for Kilruane MacDonaghs.

If they are to cause what would rank as a major upset then the Cloughjordan team will need top performances from county player Niall O'Meara; Cian Darcy and Jerome Cahill, stars of last year's Tipperary All-Ireland-winning Minor team; and former Tipp player Seamus Hennessy.   

Sunday's quarter-finals are close games to call.

CLONOULTY/ROSSMORE V DROM/INCH

Clonoulty/Rossmore will be cock-a-hoop after winning the West Championship and the contributions of John O'Neill, who scored 1-4 against Eire Og last Sunday; county player John O'Keeffe, Dillon Quirke, the Heffernans and the experienced John Devane and Timmy Hammersley - the latter contributed two points when he came off the bench last weekend - will be crucial if they are to advance to the last four.

Drom/Inch won't be without hope, however, especially with Seamus Callanan and James Woodlock in their team.

North champions Borris-Ileigh limbered up for their tie with Loughmore with a big win over Carrick Swans last Sunday.

However the win came at a cost, as they lost Tipperary panelist Conor Kenny - who scored one of the goals in their 3-16 to 2-5 win - to injury midway through the second half.

A goal by Jerry Kelly after seven minutes put them in control and their other goal was scored by Jack Hogan in the second half.

County player Brendan Maher was outstanding for Borris-Ileigh and he received ample support from his Tipperary colleague Dan McCormack and Jody Harkin.

Loughmore will be looking to the McGrath brothers, John and Noel, and their cousin Liam McGrath for inspiration.

However they'll hope that a heavy schedule in both hurling and football won't take its toll.