Sunday 21 January 2018

Failure not an option

Crunch time already for some Senior hurling sides

Brendan Furlong

Rory Jacob and his Oulart-The Ballagh colleagues are the early pace-setters in the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship
Rory Jacob and his Oulart-The Ballagh colleagues are the early pace-setters in the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship

Failure will not be an option for a number of clubs when the third round of games in the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship take place this weekend.

Oulart-The Ballagh climbed to the top of the hurling mountain with a dominance of the club scene in the county. That sequence was broken in 2014 though when Shelmaliers emerged to lift their first title.

In the history of hurling in the county no club held such dominance on the game. And already this year Oulart-The Ballagh have been installed as warm favourites to regain the Dr. Bob Bowe Cup, having successfully negotiated their opening two rounds with a degree of confidence.

On Sunday they should safely secure their quarter-final spot and in the process send last year's Intermediate champions, Shamrocks, deeper into the relegation mire. The team from the Templeshannon side of Enniscorthy have found life difficult in the top flight with two heavy defeats. Already they are being looked upon as a side destined for an immediate return to the lower grade.

Also in Bellefield on Sunday, the once proud hurling stronghold of Rathnure are in desperate need of points, having taken just one from four to date. They come up against a St. Martin's side with two victories under their belt, but given the trend of their opening two battles, Rathnure will be combative and could still secure their opening victory.

Innovate Wexford Park also houses an important double-header on Sunday afternoon as both St. Anne's and Glynn-Barntown are in desperate need of points to take into the break.

St. Anne's, last year's beaten finalists, have just one point to their credit, while a Glynn-Barntown victory would keep them very much in the quarter-final frame.

Reigning champions, Shelmaliers will be seeking to put victories back-to-back from their game with Ferns St. Aidan's at Bellefield on Saturday afternoon.

Ferns have had a disappointing start to the championship with just one point from two games played, leaving them in desperate need of a win. The Shels with one defeat and one victory, given the topsy-turvy trend of the group, will be anxious to annex both points which would leave them ideally placed to make the knockout stages.

There is also a lot depending on the second game on Saturday involving Buffers Alley and Faythe Harriers.

This is an ideal opportunity for the Alley to rack up another victory, continuing their impressive start, while Faythe Harriers will be seeking to bring more consistency to their game.

The Wexford town side, having shocked Ferns in their opening tie, went down rather disappointingly to Oulart-The Ballagh. They will be anxious to put this weak display behind them.

Given that the Alley are renowned championship battlers, they will see this as an opportunity to take two further valuable points.

The opening games, given the nature of the results, have taken this year's championship to a new level, so it will be surprising if a few more shocks don't occur before Sunday evening.

Wexford People

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