Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship Group 1
With qualification for the top 2 places already decided in Group 1 the prize for the winners of Loughgiel and Rossa tomorrow would be immediate qualification to the semi-final.
Both side have two win from two starts with Rossa looking very impressive when I covered their game with Naomh Eanna at Hightown last Saturday, running out 4-24 to 3-11 winners in a game they dominated from start to finish.
Loughgiel were given a stiffer test when they travelled to Ballycastle the same day but still had enough to deal with the challenger of the McQuillan’s and will be hoping that home advantage will give them the edge over visitors Rossa.
Rossa go into this game with a superior score difference and a draw would be enough to see Colly Murphy’s side top the group and the Shaw’s Road side would certainly benefit from the game less a win or a draw would afford them as they are still in the Senior Football championship with hopes of advancing to the play-offs still very much alive.
In the other game in Group 1 between Ballycastle and Naomh Eanna at Leyland Road there is still plenty to play for with the winners securing a place in the quarter-final by qualifying in third place and Ballycastle look the side who have performed better against both Rossa and Loughgiel, scoring 2-14 at Shaw’s Road and 2-20 against the Shamrock’s but still lost both games.
Naomh Eanna have struggled to hit top form to date but will be happy that they are still in with a shout of qualifying and they certainly can’t be ruled out but home advantage and the knowledge that a draw would be enough for McQuillan’s suggests that they should advance to the quarter finals.
Things are slightly less clear in Group 2 with St. John’s needing a win over visitors Dunloy to finish in the top two and the Johnnies at Corrigan with their backs to the wall is never an inviting prospect for any visiting team but the Cuchullain’s will relish the challenge.
Dunloy had to settle for a draw in their opening group game against Cushendall at Pearse Park before recording a facile victory over Tir na nOg last day while Ruair Og were beating St. John’s by 10 points in Cushendall but Dunloy top the group on a massive score difference.
Whoever loses tomorrow’s clash at Corrigan should still have the opportunity to advance as third placed team in Group 2 but anything other than a Dunloy win seems unlikely but they are sure to be pushed all the way on the Whiterock.
The other game looks easier to call with Tir na nOg giving a descent account of themselves on day one against St. John’s before suffering a very heavy defeat to Dunloy last day out and it is sure to have knocked their confidence. Cushendall are unlikely to show much mercy tomorrow and should win comfortably.
Regardless of the results tomorrow Dunloy, Cushendall and St. John’s will reach the play-offs but the automatic semi-final spot is the one up for grabs and my money is on Dunloy to claim it tomorrow.