By Seamus Hayes
Twenty teams set out in search of the Clare senior hurling championship back in May and the number that can win the Canon Hamilton trophy in 2014 is now down to eight.
The final two quarter final places were filled at Cusack Park on Saturday evening where O’Callaghans Mills and Ballyea overcame Broadford and Inagh-Kilnamona to complete the line up.
They join Cratloe, Crusheen, Newmarket, Clarecastle, Eire Og and Clonlara who had already booked their last eight places before Saturday’s round three games.
Level with their neighbours Broadford at 1-6 each at half time, few would have predicted such a one sides second half but the Mills dominated after the break to run out 2-19 to 1-7 winners. Not alone did the victory earn them a quarter final spot, it also sent them through to the senior B final where they will take on Eire Og.
Three points behind at half time, Ballyea were level with Inagh-Kilnamona within three minutes of the resumption of play. The sides then exchanged points four times before Ballyea hit three in two minutes as the game entered the final five minutes on their way to a 0-17 to 0-13 victory.
It was a sad evening for Scariff who lost their senior status when they suffered a loss to St. Josephs. The Doora-Barefield men recorded a 0-20 to 1-10 win and will now go into the relegation play offs from which three of the seven teams involved will end up dropping to intermediate level
Elsewhere Sixmilebridge and Tubber both secured their senior status for 2015 with victory over Kilmaley and Tulla who now go into the relegation play offs.
A goal from Alex Morey early in the second half put the Bridge on the road to a 2-19 to 0-14 win in the opening game at Clarecastle. Outstanding performances from Clive and Blain Earley steered Tubber to a merited 1-14 to 0-13 win over Tulla in the second game at that venue.
Wolfe Tones and Whitegate shared the spoils when they met at Broadford, a result which leaves Whitegate ahead of the Shannon men on score difference. Both, however, will be involved in the upcoming relegation play offs.
The quarter final pairings will be decided on Monday evening when the draw takes place at Clare GAA headquarters at Clareabbey. The pairings for the relegation play off will also be decided on Monday.
Meanwhile, Killanena kept their hopes of intermediate championship success alive with a one point win over Cratloe in the first game in a three way play off for the last semi-final place. They now play Parteen who see who will join Smith O’Briens, Feakle and Sixmilebridge in the last four.
Newmarket secured their intermediate status for next season with a hard earned two point win over Meelick who must now play Crusheen with the losers dropping down to junior A for next season.