Sunday 22 September 2019

Cracker on the cards as top two go head-to-head

Andrew Kenny and his Buffers Alley colleagues will face a Faythe Harriers side seeking a vital first win
Andrew Kenny and his Buffers Alley colleagues will face a Faythe Harriers side seeking a vital first win

The top two in Group A of the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship will throw-in the weekend in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday (2 p.m.) with a cracker of an encounter expected.

Rapparees qualified with a hard-earned victory over Naomh Eanna last time out, so their intensity levels might fall short of what they have been in their three victories to date.

St. Martin's are not the team you want to face if you are not fully applied. They seem to have put the putrid opening round defeat against Shelmaliers behind them, adding two high-scoring wins since, and they are favoured to join their opponents at the top of the table by taking victory.

Things are messy in behind the top two with the other four sides all with one win and two points from their three games. Glynn-Barntown and Shelmaliers follow in the Park (3.30 p.m.) with both struggling for form.

Both have lost their last two games and both have looked poor doing it. Glynn-Barntown were chasing shadows against St. Martin's in the second-half while Shelmaliers, the 2014 champions, were pipped by bottom-dwellers St. Anne's.

Glynn-Barntown did have their moments when they got John Leacy and Michael O'Regan on the ball in the first-half against St. Martin's, and if they can get them more involved against Shelmaliers it might just be enough to swing the balance in their favour in an extremely tight tie.

St. Anne's face Naomh Eanna in Bellefield (5.45 p.m.) on Sunday. It's probably a bigger game for Gorey, who play St. Martin's in their final clash and will likely need the points to avoid a relegation final.

Their opponents beat a wobbling Shelmaliers by the minimum but things have not been going to plan for the Rathangan boys. If they can win this, and dismiss Glynn-Barntown in their final game, then suddenly they are on a roll, but Gorey are favoured to nick another close-run contest.

Nobody is officially through in Group B but it's highly unlikely that Oulart-The Ballagh will have all six results, in the next two rounds of fixtures, go against them, with a massive turn around in score difference thrown in.

That said, they are not the type of team to leave anything to chance, especially against a Ferns St. Aidan's side which was nipping at their heels a few years ago. They meet in Bellefield on Saturday (5.45 p.m.).

Through three games the Gorey District side have not witnessed a goal at either end of the field. That's likely to change in this match as Oulart-The Ballagh wrap up their quarter-final place with victory in a hard-fought tie. It looks like Ferns will have to wait until the final round to follow them into the last eight.

Faythe Harriers showed signs of life against an Oulart-The Ballagh side keeping them at arm's length last time out.

However, with Lee Chin shining, they played some good stuff in that game and that certainly won't do their confidence any harm.

Buffers Alley haven't been consistent since their return to the Senior ranks, but they are certainly capable of beating the Páirc Charman side in Bellefield on Saturday (7.15 p.m.).

The Harriers are tipped to successfully start their battle to avoid a relegation final.

Rathnure were well shackled by Ferns St. Aidan's in the last round as they suffered their first championship defeat of the season. Undoubtedly they will want to wrap up their last eight spot before they face Oulart-The Ballagh in their final game and that brings added pressure.

Cloughbawn are their opponents in Bellefield on Sunday (7.15 p.m.) in what should be a feisty derby. They were disappointing against Buffers Alley last time out, meaning this tie couldn't come at a better time.

Expect the Castleboro side to take the points and leave Rathnure sweating on their championship lives heading into the last game.

Wexford People

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