There is a feel-good factor around Clare hurling in the wake of their All-Ireland U21 hurling final triumph against Kilkenny and the core of that team will now be in action in tomorrow’s senior quarter-finals.
The action starts off in Sixmilebridge this afternoon at 2pm with 2008 champions Clonlara – who can call on John Conlon, Nicky and Cathal O’Connell, Darach Honan, Domhnall O’Donovan and Colm Galvin – facing O’Callaghan Mills, who have senior defensive stars in Conor Cooney and Patrick Donnellan.
In Clarecastle at 2pm it will be the turn of Tubber, who have U21 players Ronan Taaffe and Patrick O’Connor, to play a Newmarket-on-Fergus side that will look to Colin Ryan, James McInerney and Enda Barrett for inspiration.
This game is part of a double-header with 2004 winners Kilmaley, anchored by the experience of Colin Lynch, Diarmuid McMahon and Alan Markham, meeting 2009 winners Cratloe who have a plethora of strong figures like Conor McGrath, Sean and Padraic Collins, Conor Ryan, Cathal McInerney and Damien Browne at 3.30pm.
Crusheen’s Cian Dillon. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie
The final quarter-final features reigning champions Crusheen, who are bidding for a three-in-a-row this year, are up against Inagh/Kilnamona in Cusack Park at 5.15pm. Crusheen are a strong outfit with Donal Tuohy, Cian Dillon, Ciaran O’Doherty and Pat Vaughan in their ranks while Ger and Niall Arthur, Cathal Lafferty and Eamonn Glynn should be to the fore for Inagh/Kilnamona.
The county senior hurling championship has reached the last four stage and the glamour clash is definitely the meeting of city rivals Mount Sion and De La Salle tomorrow evening in Walsh Park at 5pm. The neighboring clubs will collide in what will be a keenly contested encounter. Mount Sion, who last featured in a final in 2006, qualified for the last four with a surprise 0-16 to 2-8 quarter-final success over Ballygunner.
The experience of Ken McGrath and Tony Browne will be vital for Mount Sion while Martin O’Neill, who shot 0-8 against Ballygunner, is their key attacker. Mount Sion may be the traditional kingpins with 35 titles to their name while De La Salle only claimed their first crown in 2008. They also collected honors in 2010 with John Mullane, Kevin Moran, Dean Twomey and Stephen Daniels extremely influential figures for them.
The other semi-final tie takes place on Sunday evening and is a novel affair with Fourmilewater meeting Dungarvan in the Fraher Field at 6pm. History will be made if Fourmilewater succeed as it will mark their first ever appearance in a county senior hurling final while Dungarvan last reached the decide run 1951.
Fourmilewater have inter-county representatives in Liam Lawlor and Shane Walsh while the O’Gorman twins, Thomas and Maurice, are also in their ranks. Dungarvan possess a team backboned by youthful presences like Cormac and Cathal Curran, Gavin Crotty and Shane Kearney while Waterford senior Jamie Nagle is a central figure in their line-up.