The stage is set for the last eight of the O'Neill's All-Ireland Men's and Ladies Senior Singles after a busy weekend of action in the round of 16.
The big news is that the highly-rated former Clare underage hurler Colin Crehan, who had been in fine form on the tournament circuit, has crashed out, having been beaten (21-15, 21-11) by Kilkenny's Patrick Funchion.
Crehan, a Senior Doubles medallist last season, had been fancied to make a big splash in the singles this year, pushing the in-form Diarmaid Nash - his doubles partner - to an 11-10 tiebreaker in the Nationals recently. But Funchion turned on the style to run out a deserving winner and advance to the last eight.
The Kells clubman will now meet former winner Charly Shanks of Armagh, who just about overcame underdog Ger Coonan of Tipperary, dropping the first game 21-17 before recovering to win 21-9, 21-15.
In the build-up to the weekend, Shanks (35) - a six-time finalist - had stated that his quarter-final against Crehan was likely to "define his championship" should that game materialise but the aggressive Funchion spoiled the party and will fancy his chances of making a first semi-final when the duo face off next weekend.
Coonan, who saw off Galway's Pat Conway the week before, turned in a solid performance but fell short of claiming a prized scalp as Shanks shed the ring rust in time to close out the match and advance to the last eight yet again.
Funchion's brother Peter, the recently-crowned Kilkenny county Senior Singles champion, also had reason to celebrate after an eye-catching win over Ballydesmond,Co Cork right-hander Brendan Fleming. The Kilkenny man ran out a 21-17, 21-5 victor and his reward is a quarter-final meeting with recently-crowned Nationals champ Robbie McCarthy.
The Mullingar maestro continued his impressive run of form with a 21-4, 21-12 winner over Antrim's Owen McKenna at the weekend, with the other top seeds also progressing with something to spare.
On Friday night in Curraghboy, 2002 champion Eoin Kennedy ran out a 21-13, 21-8 winner over Mayo's Joe McCann, with Diarmaid Nash defeating fellow left-hander David Hope of Offaly 21-11, 21-4 and holder Martin Mulkerrins eased past experienced Kerryman Dominick Lynch on a 21-5, 21-13 scoreline.
Meanwhile, in the O'Neill's Ladies Senior Singles, there were wins for Aishling O'Keeffe (Cork), Ciara Mahon (Kilkenny) and promising teenager Leah Doyle (Kildare), who now meet Catriona Casey, Fiona Tully and Martina McMahon respectively in this weekend's quarter-finals. O'Keeffe's match with Nash was the tie of the round, as the current Doubles champion responded from losing the first to win out 21-13 in the tiebreaker.
Men's Last 16
- Clare (Diarmuid Nash) dft Offaly (David Hope) 21-11, 21-4
- Dublin (Eoin Kennedy) dft Mayo (Joe McCann) 21-13, 21-8
- Armagh (Charly Shanks)dft Tipperary (Ger Coonan) 17-21, 21-9, 21-15
- Kilkenny (Patrick Funchion) dft Clare (Colin Crehan) 21-15, 21-11
- Westmeath (Robbie McCarthy) dft Antrim (Owen McKenna) 21-4, 21-12
- Kilkenny (Peter Funchion) dft Cork (Brendan Fleming) 21-17, 21-5
- Wexford (Gavin Buggy) W/O Wicklow (Michael Gregan) inj.
- Galway (Martin Mulkerrins) dft Kerry (Dominick Lynch) 21-5, 21-13
Ladies Last 16:
- Cork (Aishling O’Keeffe) dft Clare (Clodagh Nash) 17-21, 21-7, 21-13
- Kilkenny (Ciara Mahon) dft Clare (Doireann Murphy) 21-13, 21-9
- Tipperary (Sinead Meagher) W/O Mayo (Pauline Gallagher) inj.
- Kildare (Leah Doyle) dft Laois (Niamh Dunne) 21-5, 21-14