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Clare, Meath, Cork and Galway still standing in Senior Doubles

A first-time finalist is guaranteed in the O'Neill's All-Ireland Senior Doubles following a dramatic weekend of quarter-final action which saw former champions Eoin Kennedy and Carl Browne, the number two seeds, sensationally toppled by Cork's in-form duo of Daniel Relihan and Michael Hedigan.

The Dublin side came into the match as favourites but the Rebels had flagged their quality with a highly-impressive dismantling of Wexford in the previous round - although there was an asterisk attached to that as Gavin Buggy picked up an injury early on - and they franked the form with a 21-15, 21-3 victory over the veterans.

Elsewhere, defending champions Diarmaid Nash and Colin Crehan of Clare are safely through to the last four although they didn't have things all their own way as they saw off another Cork pair, Brendan Fleming and legendary former four-time singles champion Tony Healy.

Cork led 17-7 in the first game but Clare rallied well and the Banner eventually men won 21-18, 21-16 in a fairly close match to advance to the semi-finals yet again, where they will take on Meath's Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan.

The Kells pair came through a third game against Mayo's Vinny Moran and Intermediate Singles finalist Ian McLoughlin in the previous round and were again pushed against a lefty-righty combination this time, seeing of Kerry's Dominick Lynch and Jack O'Shea on a 10-21, 21-18, 21-12 scoreline.

The final last eight tie was also a cracker, with Galway's Martin and Diarmuid Mulkerrins coming through in a battle of the brothers against Kilkenny pair Patrick and Peter Funchion.

The Cats won the opener 21-8, Galway came roaring back to force a third with a 21-10 win and went on to close it out 21-20 in an absolute thriller.

The semi-finals are down for decision this Saturday in Kingscourt and could not be more evenly-poised.

Nash and Crehan really came of age as a doubles pairing in last year's final when they defeated 11-time winners Paul Brady and Michael Finnegan but the experience and craft of the Meathmen - Sheridan, incredibly, first won this competition in 1987, before either of the Banner men were born - means a very intriguing tussle is in store.

The other game pits Relihan and Hedigan against the Mulkerrins brothers and should also be a cracker. Diarmuid Mulkerrins recently won the All-Ireland U21 Singles with a 21-20 third-game success against Kevin Diggins of Kildare and will be hoping to make history by bringing the Senior Doubles crown to the west for the first time since Mayo's Dessie Keegan and Joe McCann in 2009.

However, the Cork pair have shown that they truly belong at the elite level and are in with a huge chance in what looks like a 50-50 encounter.

Elsewhere, in the Ladies Senior Doubles, Kildare youngsters Leah Doyle and Mollie Dagg defeated Clare's Clodagh Nash and Doireann Murphy 21-14, 13-21, 21-11.


Men's QF Results:

  • Clare (Diarmuid Nash/Colin Crehan) dft Cork (Brendan Fleming/Tony Healy) 21-18, 21-16
  • Meath (Brian Carroll/Tom Sheridan) dft Kerry (Dominick Lynch/Jack O'Shea) 10-21, 21-18, 21-12
  • Cork (Daniel Relihan/Michael Hedigan) dft Dublin (Eoin Kennedy/Carl Browne) 21-15, 21-3
  • Galway (Martin & Diarmuid Mulkerrins) dft Kilkenny (Patrick & Peter Funchion) 8-21, 21-10, 21-20

Ladies QF Result:

  • Kildare (Leah Doyle/Mollie Dagg) dft Clare (Clodagh Nash/Doireann Murphy) 21-14, 13-21, 21-11