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St Rynagh's and Seir Kieran top the bill as Offaly Senior Hurling Championship begins to take shape

Thursday, 27 July 2017

St Rynagh's and Seir Kieran top the bill as Offaly Senior Hurling Championship begins to take shape thumbnailOdhran Kealey and Kinnitty will be expecting to bounce back from their narrow defeat by Kilcormac/Killougey with a win over Shamrocks. OH30-6-20412

ROUND four, the penultimate round of group games, in the Molloy Environmental Systems Offaly Senior Hurling Championship takes place this weekend with the clash of reigning champions St Rynagh's and Seir Kieran topping the bill.
There will be five games in all with that above clash in Coolderry on Sunday morning the pick of the bunch by a long way.
St Rynagh's will be favourites to keep their 100 percent record in tact but Seir Kieran will come into the game knowing that have what it takes to mix it with them.
The other four games, going on form to date, look to be easier to call while Birr and Coolderry took to the field of action last weekend as a request to bring their game forward was accepted.
Coolderry edged the game by a point - 2-16 to 1-18 in a high scoring affair in Kinnitty. Coolderry led 1-9 to 0-5 at half time but Birr roared back into the game and even went ahead in the second half with a Thomas Bolger goal 10 minutes from time.
Coolderry though had another kick in them and a Kevin Connolly goal gave them back the momentum before Martin Corcoran fired over the winning score.
GROUP 1
Kinnitty v Shamrocks - Saturday 29th July - Banagher - 6pm.
Kinnitty have been making great progress and despite losing out to K/K in the last round, there were plenty of positives to take from that performance. Confidence building wins over Birr and Coolderry earlier in the championship have set them up nicely and are warm favourites to deal with Shamrocks.
The sides met last year and it was a close affair but while Kinnitty have kicked on, Shamrocks have regressed and are struggling this year, both for numbers and in the games themselves.
Kinnitty look to have too much class all over the field and it will be a major upset if they don't come away with the two points and move back second in the group.
Verdict: Kinnitty.
Kilcormac/Killoughey v Lusmagh - Sunday 30th July - Rath - 12 noon.
K/K were put to the pin of their collar against Kinnitty but came out the right side it what was a game that will stand to them. With wins over Coolderry and Shamrocks in the bank also, they are sitting pretty at the top on maximum points while not having a full squad to pick from.
Lusmagh have two points on the board but if they are to avoid relegation to Senior B for 2-18, they need to win at least one of their remaining two group games. Getting a win over K/K will be a tall ask for them as they come into the game on the back of a big defeat at the hands of Coolderry.
Two two games in group one this weekend have two clear favourites rightfully so.
Verdict: K/K
GROUP 2
St Rynagh's v Seir Kieran - Sunday 30th July - Coolderry - 12 noon.
The clash of the weekend will take place in Coolderry on Sunday morning as the top two in group two come face to face.
Both had big wins in the last round and both are unbeaten so far in the championship with Rynagh's having three wins from three and the only Seir Kieran blip being a draw with Belmont.
Sean Coughlan and Tom Carroll are long term injury worries for Seir Kieran and they are two massive players to have not available. Joe Bergin has returned to form while James Mulrooney fired a hat-trick of goals against Clodiagh Gaels last time out.
Rynagh's have their injury worries too with Joseph O'Connor and Gary Kelly while they should have Pat Camon back available having missed the last game due to being out of the Country.
The reigning champions shot 21 wides against Tullamore and although they did score 3-21, they do need to sharpen up. They also look to have more strength in depth to deal with injuries and the likes.
A high scoring affair can be expected with Joe Bergin and Stephen Quirke leading the charge for their respective teams. It is a close one to call but Rynagh's look to have the edge.
Verdict: St Rynagh's.
Shinrone v Clodiagh Gaels - Sunday 30th July - Birr - 5pm.
These two teams need a win badly. Shinrone were edged out by Belmont in the last round and to compound matters, they will be without Donal Morkan who got a straight red card at the end of the first half of that Belmont game.
A win for Shinrone would guarantee them a quarter final spot and that will be their aim here. They will be the strong favourites but it will be all about getting the job done against a Clodiagh Gaels side who have plenty of talent and if underestimated, can cause teams trouble.
'The Gaels' are in last chance saloon here also. If they fail to win on Sunday evening, their relegation will be confirmed with a game still remaining but a win would give them a shot of staying up and making a quarter final.
Two teams with young and energetic hurlers should make for an entertaining game but Shinrone have the edge and should come through.
Verdict: Shinrone.
Belmont v Tullamore - Sunday 30th July - Birr - 6.30pm.
Very similar to the first game on the double bill in Birr, a win for Belmont would guarantee them a place in the quarter final while if Tullamore were to lose, it would condemn them to Senior 'B'. Tullamore have to be up for this game. They need wins over Belmont and Seir Kieran in their last game to give themselves a chance but given their form and the injury problems of Shane Dooley, things don't look good for them.
Belmont's win over Shinrone was massive for them. They hurled well in that game and with plenty of scoring power, they are a team who could turn heads this year.
For now though, it is Tullamore and these teams have had some massive battles in recent years with very little between them.
Tullamore play best when their backs are to the wall but Belmont look to be a team on the up and improved on the last few years.
Verdict: Belmont.

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