HIGH DRAMA AS HOLDERS LOSE GRIP ON SHC CROWN
THIS WILL be the first Pettitt's Senior hurling championship semi-final set-up for more than ten years without Oulart-The Ballagh.
Champions of the past five seasons, Oulart-The Ballagh lost their title in the most dramatic of circumstances when a Michael Doyle goal three minutes into additional time sent them hurtling out of the title race, giving Glynn-Barntown an unexpected semi-final spot.
Bellefield was the place to be on Saturday for all the quarter-final drama. This was something special, the ending of an era, as Oulart-The Ballagh's long-time dominance of Wexford hurling has been brought to an abrupt end. The Glynn-Barntown celebrations were still continuing on the pitch as both Ferns St. Aidan's and Rathnure took to the field for their quarter-final clash.
Ferns headed out as favourites, but last year's beaten finalists had to wait until the closing eight minutes to give themselves some daylight as Rathnure dug deep. For a period it looked as if another shock could be on the cards, but Ferns kept their composure, utilising their superior fitness and speed to pull away for a rather flattering six-point victory in the end.
While Bellefield was enjoying the perfect afternoon from a neutral supporter's point of view with two enthralling battles, the same may not be said about Wexford Park where the action went along expected lines.
You may recall St. Anne's winning a unique Senior double in 2000. Well, they are still on the road towards repeating that feat as they comfortably saw off Buffers Alley with six points to spare. They performed dismally in their final group game against Shelmaliers, but on this occasion both inter-county stars, Diarmuid O'Keeffe and Liam Og McGovern, lit up the afternoon as they teased and tormented the Alley defence into submission.
Shelmaliers, for their part, also have their sights still firmly on the Senior double. No sooner had the supporters sat back in their seats for the second-half that the Shels went on a point-scoring spree that helped them overturn a two-point interval deficit, going on to a two-point victory in the end.
Now these four sides have made their case, setting up what will be two enthralling semi-final clashes. The draw was made last night (Monday).