Senior status at stake in hurling relegation final

Matthew Moran in action for Carnmore earlier in this year's Senior B Championship.
Matthew Moran in action for Carnmore earlier in this year's Senior B Championship.

While the knockout stages of the Galway senior hurling championship may be dead in the water for the time being, at the other end of the spectrum, Carnmore and Abbeyknockmoy will fight for their survival in the senior grade in a ‘do or die’ relegation final at Pearse Stadium this Saturday (3pm).

Carnmore have been living on the edge at senior level in recent times and, in 2017, their group campaign in Senior ‘B’ proved an extremely difficult one for Ronnie Walsh and his charges.

Without a victory in their five SHC games against Clarinbridge, Beagh, Ardrahan, Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry and Castlegar, Carnmore lost each of those by an average of 20 points and, consequently, it would be some achievement if they come with a big performance on Saturday.

What does stand in their favour is that they have been here before – no more so than last year when they defeated Kiltormer 3-9 to 0-12 to retain their senior status and resign the aforementioned to the intermediate ranks.

That said, aside from those relegation victories, Carnmore have not recorded a championship victory since May 2014 when they accounted for Padraig Pearses by 0-16 to 2-9 in the second-round preliminaries to qualify for the group stages.

In the interim, Carnmore have lost no less than 20 consecutive SHC games on the bounce – including two games in the 2016 Senior ‘A’ qualifiers (played in October 2015) – and they will have to be mentally strong if they are to put that behind them on Saturday.

As for 2015 intermediate champions, Abbeyknockmoy, they acquitted themselves extremely well upon their promotion to senior in 2016, finishing second in their Senior ‘B’ group ahead of the likes of Beagh, Killimordaly, Moycullen and Kiltormer to qualify for the play-offs, where they were beaten by Kilnadeema/Leitrim after extra-time.

However, they seemed to have suffered from ‘second season syndrome’ this year, and in a Senior ‘B’ group where they should have pulled results, they ended up losing all five of their group fixtures, albeit, two of those by a single point to Kilnadeema/Leitrim and Killimordaly.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.