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Wexford to enjoy bumper hurling weekend as five finals set to be played

New Senior final pairing as St Martin’s take on Ferns with Junior, Junior A, Intermediate and Intermediate A titles also up for grabs

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A frustrated Rory O’Connor watching the action unfold as his club, St. Martin’s, beat Naomh Éanna in Sunday’s Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship semi-final.

A frustrated Rory O’Connor watching the action unfold as his club, St. Martin’s, beat Naomh Éanna in Sunday’s Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship semi-final.

A frustrated Rory O’Connor watching the action unfold as his club, St. Martin’s, beat Naomh Éanna in Sunday’s Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship semi-final.

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A bumper weekend of club hurling is in store as the finals in five of the county’s six adult grades are played across Saturday and Sunday.

And the competitiveness of the main event is underlined by the presence of a brand new pairing in the Pettitt’s Senior championship decider for the fifth year in succession.

Ferns St. Aidan’s are gunning for a first-ever title, after dethroning Rapparees following extra-time in Chadwicks Wexford Park on Sunday.

And their opponents are St. Martin’s - looking for a fifth outright victory since 1999 - who accounted for Naomh Éanna despite the fact that the injured Rory O’Connor was joined on the sideline by big brother Jack after just twelve minutes due to a hamstring problem.

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The big game will go ahead in the main county ground on Sunday at 3 p.m., and it will be preceded two hours earlier by the meeting of Davidstown-Courtnacuddy and Glynn-Barntown in the Permanent TSB Junior hurling decider.

Three county title winners will already be known by that stage, starting in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross on Saturday at 2 p.m. when Ballyhogue battle it out with Clongeen in the Permanent TSB Junior ‘A’ final.

Later that day, the first of two large weekend crowds in Chadwicks Wexford Park will witness a double-header.

The action will begin at 4.30 p.m. when Liam Mellows clash with Horeswood in the Joyces Expert Intermediate ‘A’ final, while the concluding action in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate championship will see Oulart-The Ballagh tussling with Taghmon-Camross at 6.30 p.m.

Unlike in previous knockout rounds, any finals ending in a draw will go to a replay without any extra-time being played or penalty shoot-outs being deployed.

And in a break with the usual tradition, the presentation to the jubilee teams will be made at the Intermediate final on Saturday rather than the Senior game on Sunday.

That’s because the Oulart-The Ballagh champions of 1995 and 1997 are the recipients, so they were given the option and went with Saturday since the club is playing on that double bill.

Covid meant that jubilee presentations were put on hold, so it has been decided to honour the Senior-winning Rathnure sides from 1996 and 1998 next year.

The second of Sunday’s Pettitt’s Senior championship semi-finals featured another apparent unrecorded score controversy, just one week after St. Anne’s were denied a legitimate goal in their quarter-final exit after extra-time and penalties to St. Martin’s.

On this occasion, Rapparees were left feeling aggrieved when a shot from distance by wing-back Jack Kelly appeared to have gone over the bar at the town end, only to be signalled as a wide.

The holders were leading by 0-17 to 1-13 at the time, but Ian Byrne rescued Ferns with a late equaliser before they came through an epic extra-time period on a 1-23 to 0-25 scoreline.

The Gorey District men are managed by Pat Bennett from Ballysaggart - father of Shane, Stephen and Kieran who are all inter-county hurlers with Waterford.

And they are back in the final for the first time since 2013, when a strong effort ended in a 3-12 to 1-16 loss to an Oulart-The Ballagh side who completed a magical five-in-a-row of titles in the process.

St. Martin’s have a superior recent record to their rivals, as this will be their fifth final in the last eight campaigns and they were successful in 2017 (against Oulart-The Ballagh) and 2019 (versus St. Anne’s).

Sunday’s winners will have to wait until November 12-13 for their AIB Leinster championship quarter-final away to St. Mullins, who secured the Carlow title over the weekend with a handy win over surprise packets Bagenalstown Gaels.

Either Oulart-The Ballagh or Taghmon-Camross will be away to Dublin representatives on the same weekend in the Intermediate quarter-final, while Horeswood or Liam Mellows will be home to either Kildare or Offaly in the Junior competition.

One sobering thought for club hurling lovers is that - barring the need for replays - the only domestic adult championship activity in Wexford between next Sunday and the summer of 2023 will be the forthcoming Permanent TSB Junior ‘B’ decider.

That will see either Na Fianna Clonard or Naomh Éanna facing Glynn-Barntown or Craanford on the weekend of August 20-21.

One week later, the club football championships will begin with a full programme of games across the top five grades.


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