There were some surprise results and upsets in the fourth round of games, but intermediate hurling league is still as tight as ever.
The fifth and final series of group matches will be held this weekend with plenty of teams still involved in title races and sprints to get out of the relegation berths.
Saturday’s games (2.30pm)
Clara - St Patrick’s v Thomastown
Thomastown’s loss has left St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) in the driving seat when it comes to making one of the league finals. Beat the Grennan men on Saturday and they’ll be guaranteed to finish above them in the table.
Thomastown may have slipped from second to third following their narrow (1-15 to 1-13) loss to Dunnamaggin, but they are still breathing down Ballyragget’s necks. A win could see them nab a Shield final spot.
Ballyhale - Conahy Shamrocks v Mooncoin
Edging way past Young Irelands (2-13 to 2-11) gave Conahy their second win of the league and propelled them to the relative safety of fourth place. Beat Mooncoin and they should have no relegation worries. A win, and nothing less, is what Mooncoin crave to allay their fears - this should be a do-or-die game.
Bennettsbridge - Dunnamaggin v Young Irelands
Top versus bottom, both sides will be striving for a win for different reasons. A fourth win in succession would guarantee Dunna’s spot in the league final, something to spur the side on as they bid to regain their senior status. Young Irelands (Gowran) need a win (and other results to go their way) if they are to escape a potential relegation battle when the championship comes calling.
Sunday’s games (12 noon)
Gowran - Mullinavat v St Lachtain’s
This game has ramifications at both end of the table. Win, and St Lachtain’s (Freshford) could make the Shield final. A win for Mullinavat will give them hope of avoiding being sucked into the bottom two in the group, but they will be dependant on other results going their way.
Jenkinstown - Rower Inistioge v Emeralds
The Rower will have the advantage when Group B’s top two meet in Jenkinstown - a draw will guarantee a League final berth, but with three other teams on four points the Emeralds need a win to keep their final hopes alive.
Kilmacow - Tullogher Rosbercon v Glenmore
Southern pride and intermediate survival are up for grabs here. Tullogher’s hard-fought win over St Lachtain’s in round four (their first of the campaign) has given them hope, but they’ll need a win and other results to go their way too. The same goes for Glenmore, who will be hoping to repeat the form that saw them beat table-toppers Rower.