Andersonstown Social Club Intermediate Hurling Championship
The Intermediate Hurling Championship gets underway this evening (Wednesday August 3rd) with four games down for decision. Always the most competitive of all the championships, with up to half a dozen teams genuine contenders for the title, tonight’s games fall into that category.
Con Magees v St Gall’s @ Fr Maginn Park
Probably the most clear-cut is the meeting of last year’s Junior champions Con Magees and St Gall’s at Fr Maginn Park in Group 1. It is a big step up from Junior to Intermediate and the Glenravel men will find the going tough. However ‘Tub’ McKernan and Henry Duffin have been working hard with the side over the past couple of months and they will be looking forward to testing themselves against a team in a higher division. Chris Dornan has been making steady progress with St Gall’s this season but a third placed finish in the bottom section of the division was not a good showing. Glenravel didn’t set the world alight in the league either finishing in the bottom half of Division after the split.
Any betting man would have to go for the men from the Bog Meadows and they have to get the vote. Home advantage will be a boost to for Glenravel but St Gall’s still start favourites.
Sarsfrields v Oisins @ the Bear Pit
The other game in Group 1 is much harder to call as Sarsfields host the Oisins. When they met in the league a couple of months ago Sarsfields recovered from a bad start to win by 1-21 to 2-14, the game changing dramatically after Oisins had a man sent off. Sarsfields put together a good run at the end of the league, winning their last three games, while it was the opposite for Glenariffe who lost their last three, a couple of them quite heavily.
However the Oisins are getting back to somewhere near full strength after a bad run of injuries and will be in much better shape tonight. They also don’t have the dual club worries that Sarsfields have. The Paddies are competing in both codes and a win over Dunloy on Saturday’s IFC was a great start for them.
This really is a hard one to call. Glenariffe will have to show a marked improvement on recent displays, but with most of their big guns back in action the might just do it, but Im going to opt for a draw.
Cloney Gael’s v Cushendun Emmet’s @ Cloney
Cushendun Emmet’s, who played their hurling in Division 1 this season, start IHC campaign with a trip to Ahoghill to take on Division 2 runners-up Cloney Gaels and to be honest that is as tough a task as you could ask for. The Emmet’s did not win a game in the top division this year, though they put in impressive displays against Ballygalget, Ballycastle and St Enda’s. Going all this time without a win cannot be good for confidence, but they know they can compete much better at this leve. With PJ and James O’Connell leading the line up front for the Cloney men they have put together some top class displays in recent weeks, accounting for Bredagh and Tir na nOg with relative ease. However they suffer more than most from being a dual club, with most of the players fielding in both codes, and their defeat to Moneyglass on Sunday evening may have taken a toll.
Cushendun will be itching to get back to winning ways but with centre back Donal O’Hara missing tonight they could find the going tough.
St Paul’s v Tir na nOg @ Pairc Pól
St Paul’s open their campaign with a home game against Tir na nÓg at Shaw’s Road. It has been a bit of a struggle for the Belfast side this season, finishing second bottom of the table, and while the Randalstown men have’s set the world alight either, they did manage to stay in the top half at the cut off.
Tir na nÓg won the game between the two sides in the league, and will probably start slight favourites but there won’t be much in it either way.