While several counties still cannot be ruled out of a place in the penultimate round of the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup, it’s looking good for Wexford, Kilkenny, Dublin and either Offaly or Westmeath.
If two teams are tied at the top of the table, the outcome of the game between them decides which of them goes through. If three or more teams tie for qualifying positions, score difference will decide. And there could yet be a free-taking competition to decide which teams progress from Group 4 in both codes!
In the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup, Kilkenny (Group 2) and Dublin (Group 3) already have the benefit of a comprehensive first round win, while Wexford (Group 1) will be expected to make it two wins out of two against Wicklow.
Dublin's hurlers, following their 16-point (4-18 to 0-14) victory over Meath last Wednesday night's in Abbotstown, are in the driving seat in Group 3 and a draw would ensure them a semi-final berth against the winners of Group 1.
New Dublin manager Pat Gilroy will also bring a selection from the panel to Tipperary on Saturday to play the Premier County in Dr Morris Park, Thurles (12.0). A different selection will play Antrim in the Walsh Cup on Sunday (2.0) in Parnell Park.
“Any game is worth more than any training session for us,” says Pat. “So it’s just great to get these games in January, particularly for us when we’re new into it, to get the chance to see fellas and give them a fair chance.
“We’ve a few games this month, so it means everyone will get games. And that’s what we want to do at this time of year. We have a big number. We have a lot of under-21s still with us at the minute. So we have enough to have two squads. It’s grand.”
Similar to their footballers, Westmeath hurlers could be faced with a closely-fought battle to progress to the semi-finals when they take on Offaly at TEG Cusack Park.
The pairings for the Bord na Móna Walsh Cup semi-finals on Sunday, January 14, are as follows:
Offaly/Westmeath (2.00): Offaly/Westmeath v Kilkenny/Kildare/Laois
Antrim/ Dublin/Meath (if Antrim at Leinster venue): Antrim/Dublin/Meath v Carlow/Wexford/Wicklow
The final is scheduled for Sunday, January 21.
Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup Group 1
Results: Carlow 4-18, Wicklow 2-10; Wexford 1-20, Carlow 0-18
Sun January 7: Wicklow v Wexford at Ashford, 2pm
Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup Group 2
Results: Laois 1-16, Kildare 0-9; Kilkenny 6-24, Laois 1-11
Sun January 7: Kilkenny v Kildare at Freshford, 2pm
Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup Group 3
Results: Meath 1-17, Antrim 0-19; Dublin 4-18, Meath 0-14
Sun January 7: Dublin v Antrim at Parnell Pk, 2pm
Bord Na Móna Walsh Cup Group 4
Result: Offaly 2-15, Westmeath 1-16
Sun January 7: Westmeath v Offaly at TEG Cusack Pk, 2pm