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Fergus Donovan lifts the cup as O’Callaghans Mill's players celebrate their Junior A Hurling Final victory over Kilmaley. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Ogonnelloe and Banner lead Junior A contenders

With no immediate pressure for the main protagonists, the Junior A Hurling Championship probably won’t kick into gear until the knock-out stages. After all, with only four sides exiting the competition following the group stages, it will be difficult to truly assess the main contenders for O’Callaghan’s Mills title.
However, after a number of barren seasons, there is renewed hope that a first team can finally claim the Junior honours, with Ogonnelloe’s recent Division 3 League success putting the East Clare side in pole position to achieve that goal.
Only three flagship sides have won this championship in the past two decades – Ennistymon (2004), Meelick (2007) and Bodyke (2017), with Ogonnelloe’s last title coming 33 years ago.
They are expected to be vying for the crown with the Banner who after gaining promotion to the intermediate ranks in football, will be determined to do likewise in the hurling equivalent.
Ennistymon still remain an unknown quantity while the best of the second strings should be Kilmaley who will feel that they have paid their dues after back-to-back final defeats, including last year’s agonising extra-time reverse to O’Callaghan’s Mills.
Keep an eye out for Éire Óg and Clooney-Quin’s second teams, with the Townies along with Broadford and Tulla being the only three sides to actually field teams in the Junior A, B and C grades.

County Junior A Hurling Championship
(12 teams, divided into three groups, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the quarter-finals along with the two best 3rd Placed Teams based on points and then scoring difference.
The bottom team in each group will enter a three-way relegation play-off. The first team drawn will receive a bye. The other two teams will play off with the losing team relegated. The winning team will play the team which received the bye and the losing team from this tie will also be relegated.)

Group 1 – Clooney-Quin, Banner, Broadford, Wolfe Tones
Group 2 – Crusheen, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield, Éire Óg, Ennistymon
Group 3 – Kilmaley, Ogonnelloe, Ballyea, Inagh-Kilnamona

Fixtures
Round 1 (Saturday)
Group 1
Clooney-Quin v Banner;
Broadford v Wolfe Tones
Group 2
Crusheen v St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield;
Éire Óg v Ennistymon
Group 3
Kilmaley v Ogonnelloe;
Ballyea v Inagh-Kilnamona

Round 2 (September 4/5)
Group 1
Broadford v Clooney-Quin;
Wolfe Tones v Banner
Group 2
Éire Óg v Crusheen;
Ennistymon v St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield
Group 3
Ballyea v Kilmaley;
Inagh-Kilnamona v Ogonnelloe

Round 3 (September 18/19)
Group 1
Clooney-Quin v Wolfe Tones;
Banner v Broadford
Group 2
Crusheen v Ennistymon;
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield v Éire Óg
Group 3
Kilmaley v Inagh-Kilnamona;
Ogonnelloe v Ballyea

Quarter-Finals (October 2/3)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)
No repeat group pairings

Pot 1 – 3 Group Winners plus 1 Group Runner-Up

Pot 2 – Remaining 2 Runners-Up plus 2 Third placed Teams
Semi-Finals (October 16/17)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)
Open Draw

Final (October 30/31)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)

County Junior B Hurling Championship
(20 teams, straight knock-out)

Preliminary Round
(Saturday/Sunday)
Parteen v Scariff;
Meelick v Smith O’Brien’s;
Corofin v Kilmaley;
Clonlara v Éire Óg

Round 1 (Sunday and September 4/5)
Tubber v Clooney-Quin;
Tulla v Newmarket-on-Fergus;
Cratloe v Whitegate;
Broadford v O’Callaghan’s Mills;
Sixmilebridge v Meelick or Smith O’Brien’s;
Wolfe Tones v Corofin or Kilmaley;
Feakle v Clonlara or Éire Óg;
Ruan v Parteen or Scariff
Quarter-Finals
(September 18/19)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)
Open Draw

Semi-Finals
(October 2/3)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)
Open Draw

Final
(October 16/17)
(Extra-time and penalties if necessary)

County Junior C Hurling
Championship
(13 teams divided into four groups, with the top two in each to contest quarter-finals)

Group 1 – Éire Óg, Tulla, Ogonnelloe, Scariff
Group 2 – Kilmaley, Clonbony, Ennistymon
Group 3 – Broadford, Banner, Killanena
Group 4 – Bodyke, St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield, Crusheen

Fixtures
Round 1 (Sunday)
Group 1
Éire Óg v Tulla
Ogonnelloe v Scariff
Group 2
Kilmaley v Clonbony
Ennistymon a bye
Group 3
Broadford v Banner
Killanena a bye
Group 4
Bodyke v St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield
Crusheen a bye

Round 2 (Saturday/Sunday, September 4/5th)
Group 1
Ogonnelloe v Éire Óg
Scariff v Tulla
Group 2
Ennistymon v Kilmaley
Clonbony a bye
Group 3
Killanena v Broadford
Banner a bye
Group 4
Crusheen v Bodyke
St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield a bye

Round 3 (Saturday/Sunday, September 18/19th)
Group 1
Éire Óg v Scariff
Tulla v Ogonnelloe
Group 2
Clonbony v Ennistymon
Kilmaley a bye
Group 3
Banner v Killanena
Broadford a bye
Group 4
St Joseph’s Doora/barefield v Crusheen
Bodyke a bye

by Eoin Brennan

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