Red FM Hurling League round-up: Top clubs power towards semi-finals

With one round of games left to be completed, Sars and Douglas are already through to the last four
Red FM Hurling League round-up: Top clubs power towards semi-finals

Aaron Myres, Sarsfields, battles Conor Kingston, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

DOUGLAS and Sarsfields are assured of places in the semi-finals of Division 1 of the RedFM Hurling League after both were victorious in their most recent outings.

On Friday night, Douglas made it eight wins from eight as they beat Blackrock at Church Road by 1-26 to 0-25 – a result that ensures they will finish top of the section. Andy O’Connell scored the Douglas goal in the opening minutes and he contributed well on the scoreboard along with Conor Kingston and Dan Harte while Brian O’Neill, Daire Burke, Cillian O’Donovan and Mark Dolan all put in impressive performances.

It was Blackrock’s second defeat and that outcome, coupled with Fr O’Neills’ 3-23 to 2-13 win away to Newcestown on Sunday, means the pair are level on 12 points with one game to play. Declan Dalton got the three O’Neills goals while Liam O’Driscoll, Cillian Broderick and Jason Hankard also weighed in with Dan Harrington and Mark O’Keeffe integral to the victory.

Having already beaten O’Neills, Blackrock do have the advantage if the sides finish level on points. However, the Rockies will be away to Newtownshandrum, who are currently in fifth place and in need of a win to secure a place in Division 1 of the restructured league next year. The last game for Fr O’Neills will be at home to Fermoy, who still have hopes of finishing in the top five and earning a spot in the highest tier for 2023.

 Cian Twomey, Newcestown, is tackled by Declan Dalton, Fr O'Neill's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Cian Twomey, Newcestown, is tackled by Declan Dalton, Fr O'Neill's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

James Molloy’s goal helped Fermoy to a 1-21 to 2-15 win over Bishopstown while Midleton beat Na Piarsaigh by 1-18 to 0-19, Ross O’Regan netting for them.

In Group B, Sarsfields’ win over Ballymartle means that they will definitely finish in the top two and take a semi-final spot, but it is not yet guaranteed that they will be in first place.

The Riverstown side were 2-30 to 0-15 victors, with Aaron Myers scoring 1-7 while James Sweeney got 1-3. Daniel Kearney and Luke Elliott each got three points but there was a blow for them as influential defender Craig Leahy suffered an injury that is likely to keep him out of the early stages of the championship.

Sars’ 15 points from eight games leave them two ahead of Kanturk, who have a game in hand against Erin’s Own tonight. Sars and Kanturk then meet each other in their last game.

Third-placed Charleville still have a chance of reaching the semi-finals after they enjoyed an impressive win away to Glen Rovers on Sunday. Andrew Cagney scored 1-5 for the North Cork side with Jack Doyle landing 12 points. Evan Murphy, Liam Coughlan and Simon Kennefick got the goals for the Glen, who face a winner-take-all clash with Carrigtwohill for a Division 1 spot next year.

In Sunday’s other game, Bride Rovers had a pair of goals from Cillian Tobin as they beat St Finbarr’s by 2-22 to 1-19.

Courcey Rovers and Kilworth have been confirmed as the semi-final qualifiers from Division 2 Group A after the latter had a 3-18 to 1-19 win over third-placed Carrigaline, who are now four points back with just one game remaining. A draw between Blackrock and Kildorrery keeps both in the mix for a top-five finish.

In Group B, Valley Rovers’ 0-21 to 0-17 win away to Éire Óg sets up a very interesting finish as four clubs remain in the mix for the two qualification spots. While Éire Óg are still top on scoring difference from Ballincollig – both on 12 points – the Ovens side have completed their nine-game programme while their neighbours have one match left. Inniscarra are a point back with Valleys a point further behind – the pair play each other in the last match with Ballincollig up against Mayfield.

While St Catherine’s lost their last Division 3 Group A game against Midleton, they will still finish top as Aghabullogue are four points behind with two games in hand but Catherine’s won when they met and so would have head-to-head advantage.

Group B has concluded with Lisgoold on top with 11 points, one ahead of Aghada. Another East Cork side, Castlemartyr, finished first in Group C, a point clear of Cloughduv.

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