Dunloy, Ballymena

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2019 Antrim Hurling Championship Draws

Ruairí Óg wrestled back the Volunteer Cup in 2018, but can they retain their crown?

Ruairí Óg bowed out of the All-Ireland series just over a week ago, but with the 2019 Hurling championship draws taking place on Monday night at Dunsilly Hotel, they will be looking towards the summer along with the rest of Antrim's hurlers.

In the U16 B Hurling, Loch Mór Dál gCais continue their strong youth development with a Preliminary Round tie against Naomh Éanna, while St Brigid's face All Saints' and amalgamation side Gaeil an tSléibhe Dhuibh take on Lámh Dhearg.

One Quarter-Final is already drawn, with local rivals Sarsfield's and St Paul's facing off in the last eight.

The U16 A Championship sees the prospect of Ruairí Óg taking on Loughgiel at the Semi-Final stage, with Rossa clashing with Oisín Glenariffe and Ballycastle facing Dunloy for the right to join them in the last four.

One Preliminary Round in the Minor B Hurling championship, with Glenarm taking on North Antrim rivals Glenravel for the right to face Lámh Dhearg in the last eight.

Naomh Éanna have a date with Ahoghill, St Gall's face Tír na nÓg and Loch Mór Dál gCais take on Rossa in the remaining Quarter-Finals.

Dunloy will begin their quest for five Antrim Minor Hurling titles in a row with a Semi-Final tie against either Glenariffe or Ballycastle, who meet in the Preliminary Round.

Ruairí Óg also enter at the Preliminary stage, where they face St Paul's for the right to take on Loughgiel in the other Semi-Final.

In the U21 Hurling Championship, holders Dunloy face Ballycastle in a repeat of the 2018 final, this time at the Preliminary stage.

Loughgiel take on Rossa and the all-Belfast clash of St John's and St Gall's make up the rest of the opening round, with Ruairí Óg awaiting the winners of the South Antrim derby.

The Ards teams offer an air of unpredictability to the Reserve Hurling Championship, with Portaferry and Ballycran having Quarter-Final dates with St John's and Dunloy respectively.

Last year's champions Loughgiel take on Ruairí Óg in the Preliminary Round, with the winners taking on St Gall's, while Rossa face Ballycastle in the last game of the final eight.

Returning Latharna Óg have been handed an opportunity to make the final of the Junior B Hurling Championship, as they are drawn against Loch Mór Dál gCais in the Semi-Final.

Davitt's take on St Agnes' and the also-returning Ardoyne face 2018 champions All Saints' with the winners of both clashes meeting in the final four.

Eight teams will contest the Junior Hurling Championship, with St Mary's Rasharkin meeting the winners of the Junior B championship at the Semi-Final stage.

Rasharkin and Gort na Móna played at Intermediate level last year, with the Turf Lodge side winning this competition as recently as 2017.

St Paul's face St Teresa's as the Shaw's Road meet the Glen Road, while Division 3's relegated sides, Glenarm and Lámh Dhearg meet in the other Quarter-Final.

The keenly contested Intermediate Hurling championship is littered with intriguing clashes as usual.

2018 Junior champions Cushendun are handed a tough fixture against Sarsfield's, who drop down from their valiant effort at Senior level last season. Clooney Gaels, so impressive in last year's first round, take on Terence McNaughton's Naomh Éanna side in the second of the Preliminary Round clashes.

A local derby awaits in the final eight as Armoy take on near rivals Carey, while the Cloughmills v Glenariffe game is also one to set pulses racing. Tír na nÓg and 2018 finalists Creggan lie in wait for the winners of the Preliminary games.

Plus ca change in the Senior Hurling championship as Dunloy join Ruairí Óg in the Group Stage for the second year running. Loughgiel and St John's will also renew acquaintances at the same stage, with St Gall's the third team in their group.

The Preliminary Round throws up a very competitive-looking encounter, with Rossa taking on Ballycastle for the right to join the 2017 and 2018 champions in Group 1.

Full details, including pathways to the finals for all draws, can be found on the official Antrim website or on The Saffron Gael.

#AntrimHurlingChampionships #UnitUpdates