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Crunch time for Offaly football and hurling championships

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Crunch time for Offaly football and hurling championships thumbnailBarry Teehan (Coolderry) in possession with Declan Parlon supporting as Belmont’s Colin Egan closes in. MT39306RM. Pic: Rose Mannion.

THE 2018 Offaly GAA season has moved firmly into the business end of affairs with a host of big hurling semi-finals taking place last weekend while there is a packed football itinerary down for decision this weekend.
The Molloy Environmental Systems Senior Hurling Championship final will be contested between champions Kilcormac/Killoughey and the form team in the campaign, Coolderry on October 7 in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park - the curtain raiser will be the Junior Hurling Championship final between Shinrone and Tullamore.
On Saturday last, Kilcormac/Killoughey had a fully deserved 1-16 to 1-11 win over St Rynagh's. It took an injury time goal from Tommy Geraghty and a brilliant closing quarter from Cillian Kiely to drive them across the finish line but they would not have been flattered by a bigger win against a St Rynagh's outfit who were very disappointing on the day.
Coolderry edged out Belmont in an extraordinary semi-final in St Brendan's Park, Birr on Sunday. It was Birr's first time to host a semi-final since 2006 and a thrilling game emerged as Coolderry won by 4-13 to 3-15. Coolderry came storming out of the blocks and looked to be home and dry when they led by a whopping twelve points, 3-5 to 0-2 after twenty minutes.
The gap was back to 3-7 to 1-6 at half time but again Coolderry showed their quality in the second half and they led by 4-13 to 1-12 with just five minutes left. Oisin Kelly got two dramatic goals to complete his hat trick and it was a very relieved Coolderry who held on.
The Senior "B" Hurling Championship final will be contested between Ballinamere and Shamrocks on Saturday, October 6 in O'Connor Park.
The semi-finals were a double bill in O'Connor Park on Sunday and in the first one, Ballinamere had an expected win over Clodiagh Gaels, 0-19 to 2-11. Ballinamere were clearly the better team for much of the game but it was not plain sailing as the Killegh-Killurin outfit rallied in the closing minutes to score 1-2 without reply and bring the deficit back to two points. They had one frantic last attack that almost yielded an unlikely winning goal but there was no disputing the merit of Ballinamere's win.
There was a shock in the other semi-final as a fired up Shamrocks beat a fancied Tullamore by 2-11 to 0-12. Again the result was a fair one as Shamrocks played with great spirit and were the better team on the day - they adopted a very physical approach with lengthy injury time played at the end of each half because of injuries to Tullamore players. Shamrocks played almost all the second half with fourteen men after Brian Kearney was sent off in the 35th minute for a second yellow card and Tullamore were in the driving seat when they led by 0-10 to 0-7 after 43 minutes. A kicked goal from Nigel Dunne levelled it up but Tullamore were 0-12 to 1-8 ahead late on before an injury time Johnny O'Toole Greene goal helped Shamrocks to a famous win.
The conclusion of the Intermediate Hurling Championship will be delayed. Kilcormac/Killoughey and Clara drew, 0-19 to 1-16, in a thrilling semi-final in Tullamore with Cathal O'Meara getting a brilliant late equalising goal from Cathal O'Meara - the replay can't take place until the weekend of October 7 as Clara play Tullamore in the SFC semi-final this Sunday. The other semi-final between Birr and St Rynagh's was postponed on Sunday because of a bereavement in Birr and takes place this Sunday in Crinkle..
In the Junior Hurling Championship semi-finals on Sunday, there were wins for Shinrone and Tullamore. Shinrone beat Kinnitty by 0-17 to 1-10 while Tullamore got the better of Kilcormac/Killoughey's third team by 1-14 to 0-12.

This week, the attention turns to football. The Senior Football Championship semi-finals between Ferbane v Clara and Rhode v Tullamore form a double bill in O'Connor Park on Sunday. The Senior "B" Football Championship semi-finals are in O'Connor Park on Saturday with Ballycumber meeting Tubber and Shamrocks taking on Erin Rovers.
In the Intermediate Football Championship semi-finals, Ballycommon and Ferbane clash under lights in Geashill on Friday evening while the meeting of St Brigid's and Daingean has a noon throw in at Walsh Island on Sunday.
The Junior Football Championship had been delayed as authorities dealt with an appeal by Ballinagar to a defeat by Clonmore Harps but Ballinagar have now won that decision and wewre fixed to play Clara in the quarter-final last night (Tuesday) - Ballinagar appealed on the basis that Clonmore Harps had played an underage player in their group defeat. Kilclonfert, Rhode and Clodiagh Gaels have qualified for the semi-finals.
See inside for detailed coverage of last weekend's games and previews of this week's football action.

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