Hurling & Camogie

Who’s in the driving seat as Lory Meagher, Christy Ring and Nickey Rackard group phases draw to a close?

In all likelihood The Lilywhites will meet 2023 beaten finalists Derry in the Christy Ring final, with a Derry-London final nigh-on impossible due to score difference. Derry hold head-to-head advantage over London.

Derry v London
Derry’s Cahal Murray and Meehaul McGrath with Conor Byrne, Tom Millerick and Padraig Muldoon of London during Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup match at Owenbeg. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )
Christy Ring Cup

Kildare have been the dominant force in this year’s Christy Ring Cup, and they sit two points clear with a scoring differential 40 points better off than anyone else in the table.

Even in the scenario that they lose to London in Ruislip, The Lilywhites score difference would almost certainly guarantee first or second spot.

With Derry having comfortably dispatched of The Exiles in this campaign that looks unlikely in itself. They were in turn well beaten by the Leinster outfit, who have won this competition a record four times.

In all likelihood The Lilywhites will meet 2023 beaten finalists Derry in the final, with a Derry-London final nigh-on impossible due to score difference (eg: a 14-point Kildare defeat combined with a 27-point Derry win)

Derry hold head-to-head advantage over London.

Tyrone can only be relegated if they and Derry are beaten.

Nickey Rackard Cup

Roscommon host Mayo in the final round of the Nickey Rackard in what is a straight shootout for the chance to meet Donegal in the final of the competition at HQ.

Only a victory will suffice for The Rossies, and despite a solid campaign to date the bookies make them a comfortable second-favourite. They will aim to use home advantage to overturn the odds of 4/1.

Armagh hurling manager Karl McKeegan
Armagh hurling manager Karl McKeegan (John Merry)

At the other end of the table, there is a crucial Ulster derby in the bid to avoid relegation. A point will suffice for Armagh against Monaghan.

The Farney will likely require a more comprehensive win to the one they achieved against The Orchard during this year’s league, with a likely Donegal win over Louth leaving The Wee County, Armagh and Monaghan on two points.

Only a 15-point plus win would see them overtake Armagh, with a big favour needed from Donegal if they are to overtake Louth.

The Farney will need a minor miracle to avoid a swift return to the Lory Meagher, which they won last year.

Lory Meagher Cup

Fermanagh, like Kildare, require only a point to secure a place in the Lory Meagher Cup final.

Unbeaten to date, only a Cavan win over Leitrim and an Erne defeat to second placed Longford (encompassing a 28-point swing) can deny them a place in the top two.

Ryan Bogue
Ryan Bogue was among the scorers as Fermanagh beat Leitrim (Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

Longford will be wary that Cavan should get the job done in the west, meaning they are required to beat Fermanagh to avoid an all-Ulster final.

A draw in Glennon Brothers’ Pearse Park and a Cavan win would see the three sides end up on seven points, which would favour Fermanagh and Longford currently.

The Ernemen sit on +41, with Longford on +26, and The Breffni men behind on +13.

Leitrim have an outside chance with a heavy victory.