The good news on the hurling front was that Longford Slashers were back competing in the senior championship this year after being unfortunately absent for a spell but narrowly missed out on a place in the title decider after the round-robin series of games.
Wolfe Tones, Mostrim and Clonguish Gaels have qualified to contest the county hurling final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday next in the curtain-raiser to the senior football championship final between Killoe and Mullinalaghta.
While Clonguish lost to the Mostrim hurlers in the group stage, they scored a slender win over Slashers to remain in contention for another crack at winning the JJ Duignan Cup and will be hoping to get the better of fierce rivals Wolfe Tones in the match the really matters.
Leading the charge for Clonguish will be chief marksman Joe O’Brien, who clocked up the impressive total of 2-8 (3 frees) to collect the man-of-the-match award in last year’s championship final but still ended up on the losing side as Wolfe Tones won a highly entertaining encounter by the minimum of margins, 3-12 to 2-14.
John Mulhern fired over the winning point in the 58th minute and he was a member of the Longford senior hurling squad that captured the Lory Meagher Cup this season, as were other Wolfe Tones players Paddy Cullen, brothers Benny and Thomas Stakem, Martin Coyle, Luke Kelly and Kealon Cox.
Joe O’Brien was particularly prominent in that terrific All-Ireland championship triumph for the county, scoring 2-2 in the narrow win over Fermanagh in the exciting final at Croke Park in June, while other Clonguish players involved in that success for the county were brothers Paddy and Ciaran Corcoran, Paul Barden (Jnr), Gerard Moore and Dermot Kiernan.
On current club form, it looks like Wolfe Tones will probably have the edge in their quest to retain the senior hurling championship crown but Clonguish (who last captured the JJ Duignan Cup in 2012) will be determined to make amends for the bitter disappointment of losing last year’s final and another close encounter could be in prospect.
Wolfe Tones, Mostrim