Hard to call in the Intermediate semi-finals

Andersonstown Soical Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

Carey, Cloney Gaels, Tir na nÓg and Oisins bid for a place in the final of the Intermediate Hurling Championship tomorrow at Dunsilly and Loughgiel in what is traditionally the most competitive championship of all in Antrim. The Senior Champions can lay claim to that honour this year but the Intermediate one is always hard to call.

Oisins and Tir na nÓg get the action underway at Fr Healy Park at 4pm while fifteen minutes later.

The Faughs take on the Gaels at Dunsilly. Both these teams are unbeaten with two wins out of two in this weird and wonderful three-group set-up. Carey were drawn in the ‘group of death’ along with Creggan and Sarsfield and came through with flying colours, not surprisingly the only qualifier out of Group 1. They travelled to Creggan on the opening day and beat the Kickhans by 2-10 to 0-13 and followed that up with a home win over Sarsfields by 1-16 to 0-14.

Cloney Gaels had too much for the Oisins in their opening game back on August 9th, winning by 1-17 to 0-14 before travelling to Turf Lodge where they beat Gort na Mona two weeks later by just four points on a scoreline of 2-14 to 1-15.

Like all the games in this competition it is hard to call, and with so few games played in the league section it is hard to tell who starts favourites. The Faughs have struggled at times against the Ahoghill men so they will need to match their physicality if they are to book that coveted final place.

Tir na nOg sat out the first day and travelled to Armoy on Day 2 where they won a hard fought battle by 0-16 to 1-10 and they hit the same score in their second game against Cloughmills, beating the Biddies by 0-16 to 1-9.

The Oisins were beaten by six in their opening game away to Cloney Gaels and when their second round opponents Gort na Móna had to isolate because of Covid it appeared that their chance to qualify had gone. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Gorts were given the time to complete their isolation period and they got back to the action against Cloney Gaels. The Turf lodge men were beaten that day but the irony of if all was that both teams, Gorts and the Oisins, were going into their final game against each other knowing exactly what they had to do to qualify. Gort na Móna needed to win by two points, and Glenariffe by six and when the Belfast men went five up in the first quarter it looked they were set fair to make it through. However the Oisins began to find their feet and they clawed their way back to level at half time. After the break they ran riot and won convincingly in the end to book that final semi-final spot.

They now have to take advantage of that second chance however and that is easier said than done. They face tough opposition in Tir na nÓg, a team they have traditionally struggled against in recent years. Again it is a hard one to call. If the Oisins reproduce the form they produced in that second half against the Gorts they can certainly do it, but the Randalstown men are a different kettle of fish.

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