Only five teams remain in the race for the Canon Hamilton Trophy, the prize for the winners of the Clare Senior Hurling Championship, following the weekend’s action.
All four quarter-finals produced close contests on Saturday last with the meeting of Sixmilebridge and O’Callaghan’s Mills ending level, a result the ’Bridge were fortunate to earn as they were outplayed for much of the tie by their neighbours in the opening game at Cusack Park.
For a long time it looked like the second fixture at that venue would also end level but champions Cratloe fought to the end and earned a one point victory over Newmarket who are now 30 years without a win in a competition they dominated throughout the 60s and 70s.
In the opening game of the day, Clonlara proved too strong for Clooney-Quin at Shannon and their victory has set up a repeat of last year’s final as they take on Cratloe in the semi-final.
The last of the quarter-finals on Saturday went as expected with Crusheen justifying favouritism beating Clarecastle by a goal. They now await the outcome of the replay between the ’Bridge and the ’Mills to see who their semi-final opponents will be.
The big talking point after the intermediate hurling quarter-finals was the defeat of hot favourites Éire Óg who were always struggling against Killanena. The East Clare side emerged with six points to spare.
Killanena will now meet Sixmilebridge who finished strongly on Sunday evening to end Clooney-Quin’s involvement in the championship.
The other semi-final will see Ruan take on Clarecastle. A strong first half performance from Ruan laid the foundations for their win over league winners Parteen but the South East Clare outfit will be disappointed about the number of chances they missed during this tie.
Clarecastle had to battle all the way for their five-point win over Bodyke who were reduced to 14 men midway through the second half.
The senior B hurling quarter-finals were also played at the weekend. Inagh-Kilnamona are through to the semi-finals following their win over Whitegate but they must wait at least a week to learn who their semi-final opponents will be as Kilmaley and Ballyea played out a draw on Sunday morning.
In the other semi-final, East Clare neighbours Tulla and Scariff will do battle after their wins over Wolfe Tones and St Joseph’s respectively on Sunday evening.
The past weekend was a particularly disappointing one for Clooney-Quin as they bowed out of three adult championships at the quarter-final stage. They lost to Clonlara in senior and Sixmilebridge in intermediate while the ’Bridge also ended their junior B hopes when they proved too strong in a quarter-final replay on Saturday evening.
Sixmilebridge, on the other hand, remain in the hunt for all three titles. As mentioned, they will play Killanena in the intermediate semi-final while their opponents in the junior B semi-final will be Inagh-Kilnamona. Victory over O’Callaghan’s Mills in this week’s senior replay will see them into the semi-final against Crusheen