DUNLOY and Eire Og Carrickmore lock horns today (12pm) in the first Ulster Club Minor Hurling Championship semi-finals at Ballinascreen while Lavey will battle it out with Bredagh (2pm) for the second spot in the decider.
The winner of the competition came from Antrim last season, although it was Loughgiel who captured the title, overcoming Dunloy’s opponents Carrickmore in the final.
The Tyrone champions are just 60 minutes away from another final appearance and they’ve already chalked up some provincial silverware having recently saw off Armagh’s Craobh Ciaran in the Shield final.
A late, stoppage time goal from half time substitute Kevin Cuddy confirmed victory for the Carrickmore men. Having led the game from start to finish, Cuddy’s three-pointer was the cherry on top.
Both Dunloy and Carrickmore have won the competition twice in its 27-year history and the Antrim representatives enter the competition in fine form, having stopped Loughgiel’s drive for five in the Saffron County.
However, they have had a bit of a wait before entering the provincial competition, so they’ll hope that their training sessions have been enough to keep them match ready.
Lavey are aiming for a third Ulster title at this level, but they’ll first have to overcome Down men Bredagh, who are going in search of their first ever championship crown, first.
Lavey competed in the semi-final this time last year, but were easily swept aside by eventual victors Loughgiel, with 18-points the difference when the full-time whistle sounded.
The Erin’s Own club have an All-Ireland winner in their ranks and James Sargent, who helped the Oak Leaf County claim All-Ireland minor success while also being named on the Team of the Year this season, is one of their main men.
Bredagh stand in their way of another final appearance, and they’ll be keen to enter the 2024 season with something to immediately look forward to. The final is set to take place in January, and it offers all four teams a chance to start the new year on the front foot.