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Remaining semi-finalists to be decided in the Antrim Senior Hurling Championship

Rossa manager Collie Murphy says he was relatively happy with how his side performed against Dunloy, but knows they face a huge challenge away to Cushendall on Saturday with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs Rossa manager Collie Murphy says he was relatively happy with how his side performed against Dunloy, but knows they face a huge challenge away to Cushendall on Saturday with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs
By David Mohan

Bathshack Antrim SHC Group Two
St John’s v St Gall’s (Saturday, Corrigan Park, 1pm)

A PLACE in the semi-finals of the Antrim Senior Hurling Championship is up for grabs at Corrigan Park when St John’s host St Gall’s.

While this may still be a round robin fixture, the fact that Loughgiel have defeated both and sealed top spot in Group Two means this game is effectively a quarter-final with the Johnnies having slightly more wiggle room as their better scoring difference means a draw would see them through.

However, they will be determined to score a win and in impressive style to give them momentum going into the semi-finals should they prevail. While they scored a handsome win over their local rivals in the opening game of the league, team manager Tony McNulty predicts this will be a very different game and says his players must perform to their best or they could see their season end on Saturday afternoon.

“Everything – form and who did what – goes out the window here,” he stressed.

“You are at the sharp end and there are three matches to win the Championship. The thing that we would have from last year is that bit of experience.

“This is our second year in Division One so hopefully we have learned to see games out. We’re taking nothing for granted because we know St Gall’s are very fit and strong. We are gone if we don’t perform this weekend.”

St Gall’s will travel the short distance to Corrigan Park with the pressure off somewhat given they go in as underdogs.

They will need everyone firing on all cylinders throughout and while that is easier said than done, the St Gall’s manager insists his players will not be lacking effort.

“It’s about being competitive at the beginning and trying to be competitive for as long as you can,” he offered.

“Whether you run out of legs, I don’t know, but what we won’t be lacking is commitment. The guys we put on the team know what jersey they’re wearing and what is expected. They are self-motivated and have a lot of pride so we will see what we can do.”

Bathshack Antrim SHC Group One
Cushendall, Ruairi Og v O’Donovan Rossa (Saturday, Cushendall, 5.30pm)

IT’S a simple case of ‘win or bust’ for Rossa’s hurlers as they make the trip to Cushendall on Saturday evening to face the defending county champions with a place in this year’s semi-finals up for grabs.

Both sides lost their opening group game to Dunloy who are through to the last four, so Saturday’s game is a de facto quarter-final with Cushendall holding the tie-breaker due to scoring difference.

Therefore, Collie Murphy’s outfit know that nothing less than victory will do if they are to progress.

While that is easier said than done against a team that will be determined not to see the defence of the title end on home soil, Rossa will still travel north with quiet confidence they can produce a performance and see where that takes them.

“It’s good going in that we know where we stand,” said Murphy.

“A win or a draw will do them, but a draw doesn’t come into it for us. It’s a straightforward knockout now, so we’ll go up there and give it a lash. This is bonus territory for us now.

“We are going well and we’re in a much better position than we were this time last year. The boys are really hungry for it so hopefully all will go well for us.”

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