Sporting Limerick previews Thursday evening’s double bill of Limerick SFC quarter finals.

With Newcastlewest running out comprehensive 1-10 to 0-5 points winners over Drom Bradford in the league final, sights in Limerick football are firmly set on the conclusion of the Senior Championship. Thursday evening sees a quarter final double header in Kilbreedy.

As part of our GAA coverage we caught up with Matt O’Callaghan to discuss the two 1/4 finals and what we can expect from this mouthwatering double header.

First up is the replay of last weeks drawn clash between Adare and Ballylanders. Adare will be disappointed not to have come away with a share of the spoils last week racking up 1-13. However, a flurry of goals from Ballylanders was enough to secure the replay. O’Callaghan believes Ballylanders’ eperience was critical in earning them a replay.

“Ballylanders’ experience  rescued them and their absolute dogged resistance rescued them. We have to say that they would have learned (from the semi final). Their experience would suggest that they have learned more.”   

Adare, on their maiden year back in the senior championship will be delighted with how their year has gone and will be hoping to keep their journey going. They were unlucky no to win last week having been in pole position to secure a semi final spot and but for some defensive lapses could have avoided a replay.

“In my view up front they (Adare) produced certainly up front, enough to win. The got into winning positions but weren’t able to kill off Ballylanders. That may have been their downfall but at the back they coughed up a couple of seriously bad goals.”

The replay is a fascinating tie with both teams likely to be much improved for Thursday’s re-run. Can Adare rectify their defensive issues that proved costly in the first game? Will Ballylanders come out with a lease of life having had a close encounter with elimination?

So who does O’Callaghan see emerging from this tie?

“If there is another notch in Adare, they will be extremely hard to beat or if they can reproduce what they produced the last day and solve the problems at the back or go some way towards solving them, they will make it very difficult for Ballylanders.

“Other than that you might have to think that Ballylanders might shade it, they probably will have learned more from the last day. It’s a game that is on a knife-edge, there is no use in saying otherwise.”

Throw in for the first clash is at 6.30pm. This will be followed by the other quarter final that pits last years champions Monaleen against Oola at 8.15pm.

Monaleen began the campaign strongly winning their opening three games with ease. However, a draw against Adare stalled their gallop and that was followed up by a round five loss to Drom Broadford meaning they missed out on a semi final spot. O’Callagha says the teams are coming into Thursday’s 1/4 final in different directions:

“Monaleen stated the campaign like an express train, Champions and hadn’t been beaten in the group stages since 2015, posted three great wins. were a bit shaky in beating Na Piarsaigh in the 3rd round. The were extremely lucky to draw against Adare in round 4 and as we know the lost to Drom Broadford in round 5 so it seems to be a loss of form.

“Take Oola. Oola won the first round out against Ballysteen, then lost to St Kieran’s and Ballylanders and looked to be in trouble going into the fourth round because they were facing Newcastlewest who were flying at that stage. They overturned Newcastlewest and built on the confidence of that surprise win and really put St Patrick’s to the sword in the 5th round.”

The  intermediate champions of 2014 will have it all to do if they are to overcome last years senior champions but O’Callaghan believes form and momentum are big factors that should not be discounted.

“On recent form, they (Oola) are way ahead the form team, there is no question about that. Obviously Muris Gavin will have his Monaleen side refocused. How much of an element of ‘job done’ after winning the first three games was there? Did they take their foot off the pedal for a while?

“I think Monaleen will refocus just enough to edge out Oola but were Oola to produce another shock? Perhaps, but I think it will be difficult for them.”

You can listen to the preview in full on the audio below: