The next seven days will decide the finalists in this years GAA Handball All Ireland Hardball Championships as the last four in both Singles and Doubles take place.
First up this weekend is the Senior Doubles semi finals with the action taking part in Crinkle, Offaly as Westmeath's Robbie McCarthy and Colm Jordan take on Cork's Daniel Relihan and Michael Hedigan in what promises to be a close encounter.
McCarthy a former singles winner and big alley specialist has a new partner in Colm Jordan in what is a very strong pairing but they will be severely tested by the young Cork duo of Daniel Relihan and Michael Hedigan who have formed a solid partnership in the last few years. The Cork lads had a very encouraging 4-Wall doubles campaign reaching the semi finals while they knocked out 2016 Hardball Doubles Champions Eoin Kennedy and Carl Browne in this year's quarter finals and so will come into Saturday's game with plenty of confidence. McCarthy and Jordan will start as slight favourites but it would be no surprise to see the men from the Rebel County spring a shock.
The other semi final due to take place on Thursday in Ballymacelligott has unfortunately seen a withdrawal from reigning champions Meath's Brian Carroll and Tom Sheridan meaning Kerry's Dominick Lynch and John Joe Quirke progress to the decider and await the winners of the Westmeath/Cork clash.
Other fixtures this weekend see the Intermediate Singles semi finals with the first being an all Kilkenny affair between 2016 Minor Champion Shane Dunne and his fellow clubman Daniel Love in their home court of Clogh, on the other side of the draw another former Minor champion, 2017 winner Mayo's Patrick Murphy takes on Carlow's Martin Mullins, Junior Champion in 2017, in Fahy, Offaly. Also on the schedule this weekend will be Junior Doubles Semi Finals with Kildare brothers Myles and Ivan Carroll up against Cork's David Walsh and Jamie O’Donnell in Lahorna with Tuamgraney playing host to the other semi final meeting of Tipperary's Paul Mullins & Kevin Dempsey and Roscommon's Sean Jennings and Denis Creaton. The Minor Singles semi finals sees Meath's Daniel Farrelly taking on Kilkenny's Jack Doyle in Ballymore Eustace and Mayo's Lorcan Conlon taking on Kilkenny's Billy O'Neill as part of a double header with the Intermediate Singles semi final in Fahy.
Meanwhile on Wednesday next the Senior Singles semi finals will be down for decision in a double header in Crinkle, Offaly as Kilkenny's Ciaran Neary takes on 2011 winner Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) and reigning champion Limerick's CJ Fitzpatrick takes on Mayo's Vinny Moran. Disappointingly all four Quarter Final victors in the Senior Singles received walkovers meaning that this will be a first outing in this year's singles championships for McCarthy, Fitzpatrick and Moran with Ciaran Neary having defeated Galway's Pat Conway earlier on in the competition. McCarthy and Fitzpatrick will be the favourites to advance but Moran and Neary will have plenty to say about that.
Also on the fixture list for next Wednesday (22nd) is the Junior Singles semi finals with Kerry's Jack O’Shea taking on Cork's Jamie O’Donnell in Broadford while Kildare's Myles Carroll faces Cork's David Walsh in Thurles in the other semi final.
GAA Handball All Ireland Hardball Championships - Fixtures for the next 7 days
Thursday 16th May
Ballymacelligott, Kerry OIC Daniel Riordan (087 6226058)
- SD 4. Kerry (Dominick Lynch/John Joe Quirke) W/O Meath (Brian Carroll/Tom Sheridan) scr
Friday 17th May
Clogh, Kilkenny OIC Josephine Cooney (087 9207047) At 7.30pm
- IS 3. Kilkenny (Shane Dunne) v Kilkenny (Daniel Love)
Saturday 18th May
Tuamgraney, Clare OIC Shane Walsh (087 9415001) At 1pm
- JD 11. Tipperary (Paul Mullins/Kevin Dempsey) v Roscommon (Sean Jennings/Denis Creaton)
Lahorna, Tipperary OIC Martin Spain (087 2599771) At 1pm
- JD 12. Kildare (Myles & Ivan Carroll) v Cork (David Walsh/Jamie O’Donnell)
Ballymore Eustace, Kildare OIC Gavin Grace (087 4153720) At 3pm
- MS 2. Kilkenny (Jack Doyle) v Meath (Daniel Farrelly)
Fahy, Offaly OIC David Hope (085 7119172) At 4pm
- MS 3. Mayo (Lorcan Conlon) v Kilkenny (Billy O’Neill)
- IS 4. Mayo (Patrick Murphy) v Carlow (Martin Mullins)
Crinkle, Offaly OIC Kevin Cooke (087 6423846) At 6pm
- SD 5. Westmeath (Robbie McCarthy/Colm Jordan) v Cork (Daniel Relihan/Michael Hedigan)
Wednesday 22nd May
Crinkle, Offaly OIC Kevin Cooke (087 6423846) At 7.30pm
- SS SF2: Kilkenny (Ciaran Neary) v Westmeath (Robbie McCarthy)
- SS SF1: Limerick (CJ Fitzpatrick) v Mayo (Vinny Moran)
Broadford, Limerick OIC Anthony Donnelly (086 3630234) At 7.30pm
- JS SF1: Kerry (Jack O’Shea) v Cork (Jamie O’Donnell)
Thurles, Tipperary OIC Kevin Timmons (087 6188715) At 8pm
- JS SF2: Kildare (Myles Carroll) v Cork (David Walsh)