It’s a busy weekend of action in the club hurling championships and both St Maur’s and Naomh Mearnog are vying for places in the Intermediate semi-finals.
With Fingallians and St Sylvester’s already through to the last four having topped their respective groups, there is still the prospect of all four spots being occupied by Fingal teams.
Both local quarter-finalists enjoy home advantage, with Naomh Mearnog entertaining St Brigid’s in Portmarnock on Saturday evening.
All eyes will be on Mark Phelan (pictured right) to see if he can maintain his rich vein of form which has seen him tear defences apart during the group stages.
Phelan, who captained Mearnog to U21 success against Craobh Chiarain a number of seasons ago, has been Mearnog’s go-to man up front, but according to a former selector it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the dynamic forward.
“He was starting to perform for us in the Junior A Championship in 2018 but had a quiet final and it hurt him a lot.
“But I think he went off that winter and got himself right and it’s been uphill from there and he’s been on a serious run since 2020.”
Despite a rather patchy league, Mearnog have dug in deep to claim their place in the knockout stages and have been boosted by the return of regular free-taker Liam Mullen, who in his first game back hit 1-5 as Mearnog easily accounted for Ballyboden St Endas in their final group game two weekends ago.
Despite that defeat, Ballyboden St Endas pipped St Vincent’s for the second quarter-final spot in the group and now take on St Maur’s in Rush this Saturday.
Under manager Dermot Crowe, Maur’s have been consistent on both fronts and were pushing for promotion from Division 3 prior to a defeat away to Fingallians in the closing stages of the league.
However they have not deviated from their path and a late goal off a free from JM Sheridan earned them what proved to be a crucial point away to St Sylvester’s in the group stages of the championship.
Although missing former Dublin forward Eoghan Conroy due to injury, Maur’s have showed their resilience and Sheridan has been ever-consistent off the frees.
Elsewhere, Maur’s near neighbours Skerries Harps must beat St Vincents in Marino on Sunday morning if they are to stay up in Junior A.
In Junior B, St Finian’s Swords are away to Craobh Chiarain in the quarter-finals, while in Junior C Wild Geese will be putting their unbeaten record in the championship on the line when they host Kilmacud Crokes.
In Junior D, St Patrick’s Donabate have home advantage against St Brendan’s after their derby win over Round Towers Lusk two weekends ago, while Lusk have a short trip up the motorway to take on St Brigids.
The other two quarter-finals in that grade see the Naomh Mearnog and St Maur’s second strings take on Clontarf and Naomh Barrog respectively.