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Dublin: 12°C Sunday 16 May 2021

5 club hurling games to watch including Wexford final and Waterford semi-finals

There are also big games taking place in Clare, Dublin and Galway.

pjimage (1) Joseph Cooney, Tony Kelly, Maurice Shanahan, Conor McDonald and Rian McBride have big games this weekend. Source: Inpho

Waterford SHC semi-finals

  • Saturday: Ballygunner v Lismore, Fraher Field, 6.30pm

BALLYGUNNER COME INTO this last four clash as strong favourites, chasing a remarkable seventh county title in succession. High-profile forwards Pauric Mahony (1-9) and Dessie Hutchinson (1-4) were to the fore in their 12 point quarter-final win over Fourmilewater.

It extended their unbeaten run in Waterford to 36 games. Looking to end that streak is Lismore, who have in-form Maurice Shanahan in their ranks. Shanahan posted 1-11 (1-4 from play) against Abbeyside last weekend to bring his championship tally to 3-38 this season. Older brother Dan is in his 28th campaign with the club and will hope to give the underdogs a boost off the bench on Saturday night. 

Dublin SHC quarter-final

  • Saturday: Ballyboden St Enda’s v St Vincent’s, Parnell Park 5.30pm

Semi-final places are up for grabs in Dublin where 2018 champions Ballyboden face St Vincent’s. 

The Marino club went through the group stage unbeaten, winning two and drawing one, with the likes of Rian McBride and John Hetherton key to their chances. 

‘Boden suffered a heavy defeat to Kilmacud Crokes in the group opener but they’ve won two games on the trot. Paul Ryan posted 1-11 the last day out against Craobh Chiaráin and will take serious watching on Saturday night.

Galway SHC group stage

  • Saturday: Sarsfields v Castlegar, Kenny Park, 2pm 

Arguably the toughest game of the weekend to call is in Galway where Sarsfields and Castlegar clash for a place in the knock-out stages. Pointless Portumna have already been relegated to senior B while holders St Thomas’ have already booked their spot in the quarter-finals.

Both these sides narrowly lost to St Thomas’ in the group stage, but the victors here would certainly be considered among the contenders for the title.

Castlegar are the most successful team in Galway with 17 county titles. They haven’t won it since 1984 but a recent spell of underage success has prompted hopes of a return to the top. 

Sarsfields, who have Kevin and Joseph Cooney in attack, dumped Castlegar out in the 2018 quarter-final stage.

Clare SHC quarter-final

  • Saturday: Ballyea v Kilmaley, Cusack Park, 6.30pm

2018 winners Ballyea take on Kilmaley in RTÉ’s live televised game on Saturday night. A convincing second round victory against an understrength Clooney/Quin outfit sealed Ballyea’s eighth successive quarter-final place.

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Full-forward Tony Kelly grabbed 1-7 (1-5 from play), while Niall Deasy (0-13), Pearse Lillis (0-4) and Gary Brennan (1-0) also contributed to the scoreboard. Ballyea, Sixmilebridge and Cratloe are the favourites for the highly competitive Clare SHC.

Kilmaley, who have Clare defender Conor Cleary at centre-back, defeated a talented Wolfe Tones side to reach this stage.

Wexford SHC final

  • Sunday: Shelmaliers v Naomh Eanna, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 2.30pm

The first senior county final of the season takes place in Wexford where 2018 victors Naomh Eanna clash with 2014 champions Shelmaliers. 

Naomh Eanna had a point to spare over Oulart-the Ballagh in last weekend’s semi-final as Wexford star Conor McDonald clipped over the winner at the death. 

Shelmaliers eased to a 13 point win over Glynn-Barntown in their last four clash. County footballer Brian Malone and hurler Simon Donohue are among the main men in a strong side looking to end their six-year wait without a title. 

It’s shaping up to be a tight encounter with the bookies unable to chose a favourite, offering both sides at even odds.

The first-ever final between these two clubs will be broadcast live on TG4. 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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