Championship semi-finals could be all Fingal affair

It’s a busy weekend at the Club Hurling Championships with both St Maur’s and Naomh Mearnog battling for places in the Intermediate semi-finals.

If Fingallians and St Sylvester’s have already reached their respective groups in the bottom four, there’s still a chance that all four spots will be filled by Fingal teams.

Both local quarter-finalists enjoy home rights as Naomh Mearnog entertained St Brigid’s in Portmarnock on Saturday night.

All eyes will be on Mark Phelan (pictured right) to see if he can maintain his rich streak of form that saw him tear apart defenses during the group stage.

Phelan, who guided Mearnog to U21 victory against Craobh Chiarain a few seasons ago, was Mearnog’s first choice in attack but according to a former international, things have not always been easy for the dynamic striker.

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“He started performing for us at the Junior A Championship in 2018 but had a quiet final and it hurt him a lot.

“But I think he went off this winter and hit it off right and it’s been uphill from there and he’s been on a serious run since 2020.”

Despite a rather mixed league, Mearnog dug deep to secure his place in the knockout rounds and was bolstered by the return of regular Liam Mullen, who scored 5-1 in his first second leg as Mearnog easily scored for Ballyboden St. Endas was responsible in their last group game two weekends ago.

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Despite that defeat, Ballyboden St Endas have edged out St Vincent’s for second place in the quarter-finals of the group and now meet St Maur’s in Rush this Saturday.

Under manager Dermot Crowe, Maurs was consistent on both fronts, pushing for promotion from Division 3 before losing away to Fingallians in the latter stages of the league.

They have not strayed from their path, however, and a late goal without a free-kick from JM Sheridan earned them a crucial point away against St Sylvester’s in the group stage of the Championship.

Although former Dublin striker Eoghan Conroy is absent through injury, Maur has shown resilience and Sheridan has been consistent from the Frees.

Elsewhere, Maur’s close neighbors Skerries Harps will need to beat St Vincents in Marino on Sunday morning if they want to stay in Junior A.

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At Junior B, St Finian’s Swords meet Craobh Chiarain in the quarter-finals, while at Junior C, Wild Geese will put their championship unbeaten record on the line when they host Kilmacud Crokes.

In Junior D, St Patrick’s Donabate have home field advantage against St Brendan’s after their derby win over Round Towers Lusk two weekends ago, while Lusk has a short motorway trip ahead of them to take on St Brigids.

In the other two quarterfinals of this class, second strings of Naomh Mearnog and St Maur take on Clontarf and Naomh Barrog respectively.

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