WITH only one round of games left in the group stage of the Senior Hurling Championship, there is still a lot to be played for.
The penultimate round of games were played last weekend and while five of the six teams progressing to the knockout stages are known, there are still plenty of permutations of where teams can finish in the group.
With two teams going straight to the semi final as first and second in the group, teams from third to sixth will play in quarter finals with the bottom two playing off in a relegation final.
The championship has been well contested this year. Although the likes of Ballinamere and Coolderry only have one win each, they have been extremely competitive in all their games and it wouldn't have taken a whole lot to them to be in a healthier place than they find themselves.
The same can be said for Kinnitty who only have a draw with Birr to their name. They could have beaten Belmont in round five and were ahead of K/K at half time in round four.
St Rynagh's are leading the way in the group with 11 points after six matches. They were made to sweat for their win over Ballinamere on Sunday as they came out 1-24 to 1-20 winners.
It was tight throughout with Aidan Treacy being the prominent figure in the Rynagh's win.
They play Shinrone in their final group game and a win or a draw will give them a semi final berth but a Shinrone win will give the South Offaly men a chance of making the semi final directly themselves if other results were to go their way.
Ballinamere have K/K in their final game and they have to get something out of that to make the quarter final and avoid a relegation final. Their performance on Sunday will give them a morale boost ahead of the game with K/K and scoring 1-20 against St Rynagh's is nothing to be sniffed at.
On Saturday evening, Shinrone had eight points to spare over Kinnitty as they won out 2-18 to 0-16. They scored 2-11 in the opening half with Adrian Cleary and Conor Doughan grabbing the goals.
A long break in play halted their momentum in the second half but they had enough done in the first half to ease to the win. They have come a long way since being pointless after two games. They have won their last four games and on current form, they will have a big say in the championship.
Kinnitty are once again in relegation trouble. They got out of it last year and now they have to take on Coolderry in their final group game to avoid going into the relegation final.
Coolderry are also under pressure. Their defeat at the hands of Belmont 1-17 to 0-18 on Saturday leaves them with just one win and it could be a straight shootout with Kinnitty in the final round for the last quarter final spot.
Coolderry had the chances to win it but they spurned some glorious goal chances while Cathal Flynn came in with 1-3 for Belmont.
Belmont led by a point at half time and had to thank keeper Barry Egan for a fine save late on to deny Brian Carroll a goal that would have probably swayed it for the Coolderry men.
Belmont are safely through but can still make a straight semi final if they can get the better of Birr and either K/K or Rynagh's falter in their last game.
Ballinamere also come into the reckoning and if they were to get something from their game with K/K, it would really open things up.
The final game of the weekend saw one of the games of the championship so far with Kilcormac/Killoughey and Birr playing out a 2-15 to 1-18 draw in Kinnitty.
Birr had the better of the opening half and led by four points at half time but two goals in six minutes from Ciaran Slevin and Conor Mahon midway through the second half had K/K leading with 10 minutes to play.
Birr came back well and an Eoghan Cahill free ended the game in a draw.
The final round of games can still have a big bearing on the rest of the championship and will be eagerly anticipated across the county.
The four games will be played on the same evening at the same time on the weekend of 7th and 8th September.
All four games in the final round have significance. All five teams assured of knockout hurling have something to play for in terms of final seedings while the battle for the last quarter final spot and to avoid relegation is a massive one for Kinnitty, Coolderry and Ballinamere.
Round seven fixtures
St Rynagh's v Shinrone
Kilcormac/Killoughey v Ballinamere
Belmont v Birr
Coolderry v Kinnitty