By Conor Martin
It’s knock-out time this weekend in the Go-Ahead Senior 1 Hurling Championship as we reach the quarter-finals, with plenty of hurling action to be had this Sunday.
Both clubs lost at the semi final stage last year- Boden to Kilmacud Crokes and Cuala to Na Fianna- so will feel they have unfinished business in the Senior 1 Championship.
Ballyboden famously won five senior titles in-a-row between 2007 and 2011 and also won the Championship in 2013 and 2018.
Cuala also enjoyed a spell of dominance in the 2010s and picked up a hat-trick of titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017, alongside All-Ireland crowns in '17 and '18.
Their last title came against Boden in the COVID affected 2020 Championship, when they ran out 2-20 to 1-18 winners.
It's a clash of the Dublin Hurling titans- and the winners of this tie will feel confident of going all the way in 2023.
It's a repeat of the last two county finals- both of which saw Crokes come out on top.
Na Fianna will be out to get revenge on the Stillorgan men, who beat the club from Glasnevin in the 2021 and 2022 deciders.
Despite coming close the last couple of years, Na Fianna have never won the Dublin senior hurling title and will be hoping the third time’s a charm in 2023.
They have been without their injured Captain and talisman Dónal Burke so far in this Championship. Burke scored 0-11 (0-6f) in last year’s finale.
Crokes, meanwhile, have also been without Dublin star forward Ronan Hayes this season so far.
With Kilmacud winning the last two editions of the Go-Ahead Senior 1 Hurling Championship, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with on the Dublin hurling scene and will be looking for a third title in a row this year.
Na Fianna have pushed them closest over the past two seasons, so it promises to be a pulsating encounter on Sunday at Parnell Park.
Awaiting the winners of this weekend’s quarter-finals are Lucan Sarsfields and St Vincents, who both won their respective groups and therefore qualified automatically for the semi finals.
Lucan have been impressive so far and made everyone sit up and take notice when they beat defending Go-Ahead Senior 1 Hurling Championship winners Kilmacud Crokes in the opening round of the Championship.
St Vincents won Group 2 with a win over Faughs in the last round of group action, booking them into a first semi-final since 2019. The Marino men are now two wins away from ending a 30 year wait for the Dublin senior hurling crown.
The semi final draw will take place immediately following the Kilmacud Crokes v Na Fianna tie and will be live on DubsTV.
Over at O’Toole Park on Sunday, four teams will battle it out to save their Senior 1 status in the relegation play-offs.
Whitehall came out on top in that decider, but only after a replay.
Whitehall only picked up a point during the group stage, while Faughs- who have won the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship a record number of times (31)- tasted defeat in every group game.
After a disappointing 2023 Championship, both sides will be looking to avoid an immediate return to the second tier of senior hurling in Dublin.
Plunketts overcame Craobh Chiaráin in a dramatic penalty shoot-out last year, while St Brigids beat St Judes by a point.
The men from the Navan Road only picked up a single win in Group 2 this season, with a victory Faughs.
St Brigids, however, could only pick up a single point for their troubles in Group 1.
After staying up last year, one of these clubs will find themselves falling through the relegation trapdoor on Sunday evening.