Thurles Sarsfields captain Pádraic Maher pictured collecting the Dan Breen Cup from former County Board chairman Michael Bourke in October 2017 following the Blues' final win over Borris-Ileigh.
Defending champions Thurles Sarsfields served notice of their extraordinary ability at The Ragg on Saturday afternoon. The Blues have won the last four Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championships and look set to add number five to that streak based on the quality of their showing against Upperchurch-Drombane.
Upperchurch-Drombane gave this contest everything they had and led 1-15 to 1-12 entering the final quarter before Thurles Sarsfields upped it a gear or three and fired over twelve consecutive points to win 1-24 to 1-15.
Upperchurch-Drombane got off to a terrific start when beating Drom & Inch (0-20 to 1-13) in the opening round while Thurles Sarsfields were presented with a walkover by Carrick Swans.
On Saturday at Leahy Park, Cashel Drom & Inch beat Carrick Swans at their ease (2-24 to 0-16) meaning that Thurles Sarsfields lead group three on four points (+9), Upperchurch-Drombane are second on two points (-5), Drom & Inch are third on two points (+10) and Carrick Swans are bottom on zero points (-14).
Because Carrick Swans gave a walkover in the opening round scoring difference cannot now be considered in the event of three sides finishing on equal points.
In the third round Upperchurch-Drombane will be expected to beat Carrick Swans while should Drom & Inch get the better of Thurles Sarsfields a three-way play-off would be required (Upperchurch-Drombane, Drom & Inch and Thurles Sarsfields would all complete the group phase of the competition on four points).
Drom & Inch 1-13 Upperchurch 0-20
Thurles Sarsfields w/o Carrick Swans scr
Thurles Sarsfields 1-24 Upperchurch-Drombane 1-15
Carrick Swans 0-16 Drom & Inch 2-24
Carrick Swans v Upperchurch-Drombane
Drom & Inch v Thurles Sarsfields
Nenagh Éire Óg have taken over at the summit of group one courtesy of a reasonably fortunate two-point win over Clonoulty-Rossmore at The Ragg on Sunday afternoon - the Blues recovered a six-point deficit (1-20 to 1-18), but John Devane’s Clonoulty-Rossmore side will be cursing a whole series of spurned opportunities.
Meanwhile on Saturday a rejuvenated Roscrea team proved too strong for Mullinahone at Templetuohy - despite the heroics of Eoin Kelly Roscrea won 3-18 to 0-19.
Clonoulty-Rossmore registered a solid win over Mullinahone (1-14 to 0-11) in the opening round while Nenagh Éire Óg proved far too strong for Roscrea (2-24 to 0-11).
So, Éire Óg (four points, +21) have topped the group by virtue of their head-to-head records against Clonoulty-Rossmore (two points, +4) and Roscrea (two points, -11). Right now Mullinahone are bottom on zero points (-14); in the third round Mullinahone take on Éire Óg while Clonoulty-Rossmore will have to be on their game against Roscrea.
Please note that Clonoulty-Rossmore have already secured their place in the knock-out stage of the championship thanks to winning the West Tipperary title earlier this season.
Mullinahone 0-11 Clonoulty 1-14
Nenagh Éire Óg 2-24 Roscrea 0-11
Roscrea 3-18 Mullinahone 0-19
Nenagh Éire Óg 1-20 Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-18
Roscrea v Clonoulty-Rossmore
Mullinahone v Nenagh Éire Óg
On Saturday in Templetuohy Killenaule roared to an impressive five-point win over the Kilruane MacDonagh’s (2-24 to 3-16) while on Sunday Toomevara edged a tight contest with Éire Óg Annacarty (2-14 to 0-18).
Killenaule lost to Éire Óg Annacarty (1-11 to 0-16) in the opening round while Toome beat Kilruane MacDonagh's (1-9 to 0-10) meaning that the Greyhounds now top the group on four points (+4), Éire Óg Annacarty are second on two points (even score difference), Killenaule are third on two points (+3) and Kilruane are bottom on zero points (-7).
In the third round of games Toomevara take on Killenaule and Éire Óg Annacarty face Kilruane MacDonagh's.
This group could still take a twist or a turn and it is worth noting that as South champions Killenaule are already through to the knock-out stage of the Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship while Kilruane MacDonagh’s are through to the final of the Hibernian Inn North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship (Liam O’Shea’s men await the winner of the semi-final replay between Kiladangan and Nenagh Éire Óg).
In order to avoid relegation to Roinn II Kilruane require a win over Éire Óg Annacarty and for Killenaule to beat Toomevara in the third round.
Éire Óg Annacarty 0-16 Killenaule 1-11
Kilruane 0-10 Toomevara 1-9
Killenaule 2-24 Kilruane MacDonagh’s 3-16
Toomevara 2-14 Éire Óg Annacarty 0-18
Toomevara v Killenaule
Éire Óg Annacarty v Kilruane MacDonagh's
The contest between Borris-Ileigh and Loughmore-Castleiney was postponed on Saturday and that attractive clash has been re-scheduled for Wednesday, August 15th in The Ragg at 7pm. Meanwhile on Saturday evening at MacDonagh Park in Nenagh the Kiladangan men got the better of Portroe (1-22 to 1-18).
Borris-Ileigh beat Portroe (2-10 to 0-12) in the opening round while Loughmore-Castleiney lost a thriller against Kiladangan (1-11 to 0-15).
So, Kiladangan are going about their business smartly and top the group on four points (+5), Borris-Ileigh are second on two points (+4), Loughmore-Castleiney are third on zero points (-1) and Portroe are fourth on zero points (-8).
Critically, Borris-Ileigh and Loughmore-Castleiney now hold a game in hand over Kiladangan and Portroe so the result of the contest on Wednesday night will have a huge impact on the landscape of this group.
Please note that Loughmore-Castleiney are through to the Mid Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship final against Thurles Sarsfields, but nothing is guaranteed for them going down the divisional route so beating Borris-Ileigh this Wednesday has to be Declan Laffan's top priority.
In the third round of games Kildangan take on Borris-Ileigh and Portroe face Loughmore-Castleiney.
Portroe 0-12 Borris-Ileigh 2-10
Loughmore-Castleiney 1-11 Kiladangan 0-15
Kiladangan 1-22 Portroe 1-18
Kiladangan v Borris-Ileigh
Portroe v Loughmore-Castleiney
The format for the county senior hurling championship is as follows: sixteen teams will compete in Roinn I for the Dan Breen Cup.
There are four seeded groups - the seedings are based on the finishing position of the teams in the 2017 group stage of the championship; three rounds of games will be played with the top two teams progressing to the knock-out stage of the competition.
There is a potential need for preliminary quarter-finals if a divisional champion has not progressed to the knock-out stage of the county championship via the round robin stage of the competition. If this eventuality materializes the divisional champion(s) in question will be drawn to play a group runner-up in order to determine who progresses to the quarter-finals alongside the aforementioned group winners and remaining runners-up.
The group winners will be seeded in the quarter-finals with repeat pairings avoided where possible (repeat pairings are also avoided where possible at the semi-final stage of the competition).
Relegation: The four bottom teams in the respective groups will battle it out to see which two teams are relegated to Roinn II (the Séamus Ó Riain Cup) in time for the 2019 season.
The preliminary quarter-finals were originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 26th with the quarter-finals on Sunday, October 7th, semi-finals on Sunday, October 14th and the county final on Sunday, October 28th.
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