Minor hurling: Village battle Douglas for the fourth slot in Premier 1 semi-final

Minor hurling: Village battle Douglas for the fourth slot in Premier 1 semi-final
Ruairi O'Connor, Ballincollig, battles Geoffery Gowen, Ben Cunningham and JJ O'Connor, St Finbarr's, in the P1 MHC clash at Ballincollig two weeks ago. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

BEFORE a ball in struck in the Premier 1 MHC tonight already threeof the semi-finalists are known.

Already safely through are Glen Rovers, Sarsfields and St Finbarr's. But who will join them is the big question?

Douglas host Ballincollig in their final group game, with St Finbarr's v Ibane Gaels the other tie in the group. The Village, despite having to travel to Douglas are firm favourites to advance but won't be taking the challenge of the home side lightly.

A win for them or Douglas makes it clear cut and to the victors will go the spoils and with it a spot in the semis. It's as simple as that really, but have no doubt with what is at stake it will be a nervy night for both sides.

Ballincollig beat Ibane in their first game and took the Barrs to extra-time before losing out to the Togher side in round two.

Douglas lost to the Barrs in round one, before then beating Ibane in round two. Looking at both sides clashes with the Barrs then Ballincollig fared far better and on that basis should be too strong for the home side.

Stephen St Ledger and Daire Burke, Douglas, against St Finbarr's. Picture:Jim Coughlan.
Stephen St Ledger and Daire Burke, Douglas, against St Finbarr's. Picture:Jim Coughlan.

Add in the fact that a draw would also see them through as they have a better scoring average and all the pressure is on Douglas.

Ironically both sides will then meet a week later in the football championship with a similar scenario, with again Ballincollig in the driving seat.

The other group is a shoot-out for top spot between Sars and the Glen, with the winners topping the group and facing Ballincollig/Douglas in the semi. The losers will face the Barrs in the other semi-final.

Whilst there is still a lot of hurling to be played it would be no great surprise to see Sars and the Glen do battle again in the final.

Sean Corcoran of Glen Rovers holds off the challenge from Midleton's Rory Hartnett. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Sean Corcoran of Glen Rovers holds off the challenge from Midleton's Rory Hartnett. Picture: Howard Crowdy

At Premier 2 level the clash of Kanturk and Newcestown will decide the group winners, with both already through to the semi-finals.

In the other group the winners of Killeagh/Ita's v Kilta Óg will join St Colmans in the semis, with the latter most likely to top it.

In the Mid Region expect there to be no love lost when near-neighbours Tracton host Carrigaline and Ballygarvan face Sliabh Rua.

Also in the same region Blarney take on Ballinora and Inniscarra are at home to Éire Óg. Four clashes that won't be for the feint-hearted.

The winners of the Éire Óg and Inniscarra tie could join Ballinora in the semi-finals, that's assuming that they beat Blarney.

If Blarney win then they will join Ballinora in the semis, regardless of what happens in the other tie.

Ballygarvan are safely into the semis with both Carrigaline and Sliabh Rua in with a chance of joining them. If Carrigaline beat Tracton then it should be enough for them to advance, assuming Ballygarvan keep their winning run going against Sliabh Rua.

If Sliabh Rua win and Carrig win then it will come down to scoring difference between the two of them.

All in all there are cracking games on across all regions tonight with semi-final spots and local bragging rights at stake.

FIXTURES

TONIGHT

Games at 7pm unless stated

Premier 1 Group 1: Douglas v Ballincollig; St Finbarr's v Ibane Gaels. Group 2: Sarsfields v Glen Rovers, Blackrock v Midleton.

Premier 2 Group 1: Kanturk v Newcestown; Na Piarsaigh v Valley Rovers. Group 2: Killeagh/Ita's v Kiltha Óg; St Colmans v Youghal.

Mid Region Division One: Blarney v Ballinora; Inniscarra v Éire Óg; Ballygarvan v Sliabh Rua; Tracton v Carrigaline.

Mid Region Division Two: Grenagh v Clyda Rovers; Kilshanning v Donoughmore.

North Region Division One: Ballycastle Gaels v Fermoy; Mallow v Killavullen; Shandrum v Charleville.

North Region Division Two: Ballygiblin v Ballyhea; Buttevant v Croke Rovers; St Kevin's v Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels. St Mark's v Newmarket.

North Region Division Three: St Dominics v Dromtaffiffe.

East Region Division One: Erins Own v St Colmcilles; Cobh v Bishopstown; Carrigtwohill v Whitechurch, 6.30pm.

East Region Division Two: Mayfield v Bride Roves, 6.30pm; Passage v Castlelyons; Fr O'Neill's v Aghada, 6.30pm; St Catherines v Watergrasshill.

West Region Division One: Clonakilty v Owen Gaels; Bandon v Ballinhassig, both 7.30pm.

West Region Division Two: Courcey Rovers v Cloughduv; Laochra Óg v Fastnet Gaels.

West Region Division Three: Kilbree v St Patrick's; Western Gaels v Cill Mochomog.

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