Antrim Hurling League Play-offs
This evening (Wednesday) sees the semi-finals of the Division 2, 3 and 4 hurling leagues, plus Division 1 takes a step nearer completion.
The key games in Division 1 sees table toppers Cushendall take on Portaferry at Pairc Mhuir, Cushendall where a home win would guarantee the Ruairis a place in the final, most likely against Rossa. A defeat wouldn’t rule them out either, but it would leave it all very interesting, as Portaferry have a game in hand over the other two, and if they won tonight and Rossa lost against Dunloy, then they could catch the Shaw’s Road men if they won that game in hand.
The problem is the game in hand is against Dunloy who should be back to somewhere near strength when they meet Rossa this evening. If Rossa win tonight at Pearse Park it will them against Cuhendall in the final, but if the Cuchullains prevail it is all still up in the air.
There are two very interesting semi-finals in Division 2 this evening with North coast rivals Glenariffe Oisins taking on Cushendun Emmet’s at Fr Maginn Park, Glenariffe. Both had impressive wins last weekend with the Oisins running up a big score against an understrength Tir na nÓg and Emmet’s beating St Gall’s. Both will be keen to keep their good run going and while the Oisins will start as slight favourites this game could go either way.
N.B. A little note to all attending – Bring your Midge repellent
In the other game between Carey Faughs and Cloney Gaels at Portglenone Cloney Gaels go in on the back of a good win over Carryduff which might stand to them. Carey’s game with Sarsfields was called off because of Covid in the Sarsfields camp. In their leaugue campaigns Carey topped Division 2B while the the Ahoghill men were top of the pile in 2A, so this one is hard to call. At this time of year teams can be short a lot of players because of holidays and that might be a deciding factor in this game.
The Division 3 semi-finals see an Antrim team, a Down team, an Armagh and a Derry team left to battle it out for the title. Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm take on Carryduff of Down in one semi-final at St Enda’s, while Cuchullains of Armagh and Na Magha of Derry travel to Dreen, Rasharkin to do battle in the other semi-final.
Glenarm and Carryduff drew in the opening game of the league proper in Carryduff, back on May 8th in a top class game of hurling. The men from Feystown have took full points from their remaining six games and top the table, but Carryduff lost just once and a will be relishing another crack at the boys in blue. This promises to be a cracker.
Both teams in the other semi-final put up impressive scores in last weekend’s last-eight games, Cuchullains beating Davitt’s by 3-21 to 1-15 while Na Magha beat Con Magees by 3-16 to 0-13 in Glenravel. When they met in the league proper three weeks ago Cuchullains won by ten points, which would make them favourites tonight, but as we all know it is never as straightforward as this and Na Magha will fancy their chances of gaining revenge.
When All Saints played Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh in the league proper in early June they beat them by 1-27 to 0-3 so most bookies would have the Ballymena men as short odds favourites for tonight’s game at Hannahstown. However the Dungannon men have teams in both the 4th and 2nd divisions and in the early part of the league campaign many players had to move up and play in the higher division because the Tyrone county hurling team were involved in the National Hurling League.
Tonight’s team will be a lot different than the one the Saints faced five weeks ago and the task will be much harder. In the other semi-final Lamh Dhearg, who topped the Division 4 table, take on Ardoyne at Pairc Rossa. The Hannahstown men won the game in the league proper but with Ollie Bellew at the helm for Ardoyne they will not be easily beaten and Lamh Dhearg will need to be at their best to cope with them.