Listen – Matt O’Callaghan discusses the weekend action with Sporting Limerick.
The Gaelic Grounds plays host to a massive double header on Saturday evening with the Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship Quarter Finals down for decision.
You can listen to Matt’s preview in full on the link below.
Ballybrown v Patrickswell
The first of the quarter-finals sees a repeat of last year’s county final as parish rivals Ballybrown and Patrickswell do battle.
Last year the ‘Well ended a baron spell for silverware with a 19-point win in the final, Matt O’Callaghan believes that Ballybrown will be coming in under the radar this time around, and won’t feel the same pressure as they did going into last year’s decider.
“This year Ballybrown are coming in under the radar. They came in last appearing to have all guns blazing, the went through the group stages unbeaten. We all remember the barnstorming display that they put when they blew away Adare in the County Championship semi-final. They came in with pretty high hopes into last year’s County final but there’s a general belief that to a certain degree they froze on the big stage. This is an ideal opportunity to put the record right.”
This season Ballybrown have been hot and cold in the championship but O’Callaghan says that they have the potential to cause an upset based on some of the form that they’ve shown throughout the campaign.
“They’ve mixed the good with the bad this year, mixed being very ordinary with flashes of the type of form that they showed against Adare in the semi-final last year. You’d have to believe when a team puts on that type of performance that it is in them (to do it again).”
Defending champions Patrickswell will no doubt understand that anything can happen in knock-out hurling and O’Callaghan says that they will approach the game with caution.
“Patrickswell will be taking absolutely nothing for granted. They will want to jealously hold onto their title and they will be threading very warily because they’ll be expecting a Ballybrown backlash.”
The Vale Star reporter is tipping Patrickswell to come out on top in the game, especially if the influencial Cian Lynch is on the field but isn’t completely counting out last year’s beaten finalists, he also thinks that it should be an entertaining spectacle.
“You know parish rivalry, two ends of the parish, bragging rights, and when it’s defeat there is great hurt. I fancy that Patrickswell will prevail but it will be much closer than it was in the county final last year.”
A lot will depend on whether Cian Lynch is fit to play for Patrickswell or not. He’s such a huge figure, not only for Patrickswell but for Limerick as we all saw last Saturday with the storming 40 minutes he put in despite carrying an injury. If he’s on board it’s very hard to see past Patrickswell but I think that this game could be a lot closer than most people are thinking, I think they’ll put it up to Patrickswell but it may just fall short (for Ballybrown).”
Both sides will be going all out, I don’t think either side will employ a sweeper system, it will be straight forward old type hurling and they’re both good hurling teams and can afford to set out that way. Maybe Ballybrown will be a bit cautious early on but I think that both sides will give it a real good go.”
Adare v Doon
Both sides come into Saturday’s quarter-final having lost just one game each, and based on form this one should be a close affair, O’Callaghan is expecting an open and exciting encounter.
“This is a very open one, you look at it one minute and you say Adare are going to win it, you look at it the next minute and say Doon are going to win it. There are compelling cases to be made for both.”
“I’ve seen both of them during the championship and they have been very exciting teams. Adare’s only defeat was to Patrickswell in the first round and they had a serious moral boosting victory over Na Piarsaigh in round 4. Doon’s only defeat was a narrow defeat to Kilmallock in round 3 so these are two form teams that have been playing very well and racking up high scores.”
“I’m expecting a good open game of good, open, fast hurling because both sides are capable of it and are littered with young players that have been to the fore at underage not only with their clubs but with their county in recent years.”
It’s fair to say that both sides will feel they have a point to prove this year. Adare will be smarting from last year’s semi-final loss at the hands of Ballybrown while Doon will finally want to make a statement following a fruitful few years at underage level. O’Callaghan is going with Doon but believes that this one could go down to the wire.
“Adare, they will be hurting from the semi-final defeat last year, they will be on an atonement mission to make up for last year but we have been waiting on the wings for the last number of years for the expected Doon breakthrough. Doon have won three of 4 Premier Minor U21 Championships, those guys will be forming the nucleus of the Doon team.”
“If I was put up against a wall I would say Doon but by a terribly tight margin, we might even have a draw and a replay.”
While it has been a good championship overall and should throw up an entertaining knock-out stages it is glaringly obvious that despite a good structure there has been a disparity between the top and bottom 6 sides at senior level this season. O’Callaghan gives his thoughts on the matter.
“We’re going into 5 fantastic games to finish our championship but I think that should not allow us to forget what has gone before and the serious underlying problems that are in the competition and the structure of the competition.
We shouldn’t be deflected from a resolve to change things and to change the format because whilst it will throw up a good concluding stages to the championship, what has gone before, right through the summer is basically unsustainable.
We went into the 5th round with a farcical situation, where people were trying to rack up big scores, where only scoring difference mattered, 5 of the 6 clubs were known going into the last round. The model is good, the unfortunate situation is that there is a huge disparity between the top 6 and the rest.”
Ballybrown v Patrickswell in Gaelic Grounds at 6pm.
Adare v Doon in Gaelic Grounds at 7.45pm.