Intermediate Championship is wide open as usual

Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship

While the Senior Hurling Championship can be narrowed down to just three or four teams the Intermediate is an open book. Any of us who cover the games, not only in the second tier championship, but also in Division 2 of the league know that any one of seven or eight teams are real contenders. Just look at last season when Tir na nÓg came from back in the field to take the title in style, beating Cloney Gaels in the final. Cushendun’s exploits during their league campaign has them among the favourites, but they sit this round out tonight and will be anxious to see how the other games go.

Armoy Glen Rover v Cloney Gaels

This evening we are up and running again with an almost full list of games. Last year’s beaten finalists Cloney Gaels, travel to Armoy this evening to take on Glen Rovers in their opening game and going by league positions should start favourites, but as I said earlier nothing in this championship can be taken for granted and Armoy will be out to prove the pundits wrong.

St Gall’s v Oisins

St Gall’s host the Oisins at the Bog Meadows and manager Chris Dornan, a Cushendall native, will be keen to show his neighbours in Glenariffe that there is still plenty of hurling in Milltown. St Gall’s dropped down from Senior last season and Dorny has introduced some new blood into the side and will be capable of mixing it with anyone.

With Gooch Gillan working as a Coach with Eddie Haughey and Johnny McIntosh, a lot is expected of the Oisins this season. They too have lost a few of their old regulars and have introduced some exciting new faces, but this will be a really testing opener for them.

Gort na Móna v Carey Faughs

Every year Carey Faughs are listed among the favourites to win the Intermediate crown and though they have reached the final on many occasions they never seem to be able to get over the line. They went really well in the league this season but lost out to Cushendun in a semi-final and they will be relishing another tilt at the Emmet’s somewhere further down the line. However if they were wanting a nice easy start to the campaign Pairc Enright is not the place to get it and the Gorts will be lying in wait. The Faughs should have too much for the men from Turf Lodge but it is doing it on the field that counts.

Creggan Kickhams v Sarsfields

The first of the really big clashes comes tonight at Creggan when former Junior All Ireland and Intermediate Ulster champions Creggan take on Sarsfields. The Paddies had a poor league campaign but were without their talisman Niall McKenna who is back and raring to go. Creggan too were short county captain Conor McCann and they will fancy their chances on home soil. However I am sitting on the fence with this one as it could go either way.

St Paul’s v St Brigid’s Cloughmills

Last year St Paul’s caused a real shock when they came from nowhere to win the Junior Championship by beating Rasharkin in the final. It was not however the final victory that was the big surprise, but their semi-final win over a Cushendun side that were beating everyone out the gate on their way to the knock-out stages. When we see the heights that Cushenun have risen to this season St Paul’s have to be rated as contenders and visitors Cloughmills will have to be on their toes this evening at Shaw’s Road.

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