Birr put down a marker

FOUR-time All-Ireland club champions Birr served notice of their intent when overwhelming reigning kingpins Coolderry by 1-16 to 0-10 in a one-sided fourth round encounter at Shinrone on Saturday.

Thomas Bolger was the star man, grabbing 1-7 for Paul Murphy’s unbeaten side, while former Offaly custodian Brian Mullins produced a crucial second-half save from Kevin Teehan as Coolderry briefly threatened a fight back.

Ken Hogan’s Coolderry welcomed Brian Carroll back from injury but they were still without Kevin Brady, Cathal Parlon and Kevin Connolly, while Paul Cleary, who missed Offaly’s championship campaign, returned to the Birr fold at full-back.

With the final series of matches in the round-robin stage scheduled for the weekend after next, Birr and Coolderry are already through to the quarter-finals with Shinrone and Kinnitty likely to join them from Group B.

The Joachim Kelly managed Shinrone, with Michael Cordial firing over nine points, defeated Drumcullen by 1-20 to 0-12 in St Brendan’s Park last Thursday.

Jason Sampson netted the only goal and both sides ended the hour with 14 players as red cards were flashed at William Spain (Drumcullen) and John Paul Cummins (Shinrone).

Goals from Stephen Molloy and Feargal Kealey helped Kinnitty to a 2-13 to 1-10 win over relegation threatened Shamrocks in Rath. Colm Coughlan, son of 1981 and ‘85 All-Ireland medal winner Ger, grabbed eight points.

St Rynagh’s, under the guidance of Dinny Cahill, maintained their unblemished record crushing 2009 county champions Tullamore by 2-19 to 0-11 at O’Connor Park on Friday. Gary Kelly continued his magnificent vein of form registering 0-11 from midfield with the St Rynagh’s goals being netted by Michael Lyons and Stephen Quirke.

Without chief marksman Shane Dooley who is in the USA, Tullamore are currently outside the quarter-final places that are occupied by St Rynagh’s, Kilcormac/Killoughey, Seir Kieran and Belmont.

Seir Kieran, with the brilliant Joe Bergin bagging 2-2, defeated Lusmagh by 3-10 to 1-12 on Sunday morning in Carrig.

Meanwhile Kilcormac/Killoughey, under the guidance of Pat Joe Whelahan, defeated Belmont 2-16 to 2-11 last night in Banagher. First half goals by Thomas Geraghty and Daniel Currams gave K/K, who welcomed Ger Healion back from suspension, a 2-7 to 0-7 interval lead. Belmont, minus the injured David Kenny, rallied bravely in the second half however goals by Colin Egan and Damien Egan weren’t enough to turn the tie.

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