As is the nature of power rankings, they are reactive and such is their loss to Patrickswell in round one, the reigning champions drop below the Well.
The Limerick Senior Hurling Championship began with a bang following a number of eye catching results in weekend one. Kilmallock were dominant winners over Doon while in a repeat of the 2019 final, Patrickswell had too much for Na Piarsaigh.
Elsewhere, Mungret St Pauls, Ballybrown and Adare laid down their group two and potential quarter final potentials.
It’s early doors but with every team having featured once, we present the second edition of the Limerick SHC power rankings.
12. Garryspillane (=)
Of the teams beaten in group two, Garryspillane’s was by the smallest margin but they remain in 12th with those in front just having more money in the bank as of now. But against a team operating in the top tier last year, the Bouncers will feel they were closer than the shorelines suggests.
Facing a Mungret St Pauls team that they beat last year, they will be confident going into the game and a win could shoot them up the rankings.
11. Monaleen (-1)
After the highs of 2022, Monaleen were reminded just how cut throat the Limerick Senior Championship is with a comprehensive defeat to Ballybrown in their return to the top tier. The All-Ireland Intermediate champions started well but were eventually overawed by the group favourites.
This weekend’s game is crucial as they take on fellow round one losers South Liberties.
10. South Liberties (-1)
After a stellar 2022 that resulted in them breaking up the monopoly of the big four in Limerick hurling, South Liberties were reminded of the perils in group two after falling to a 18-point defeat at the hands of Mungret St Pauls.
As is the case for Monaleen, the game this weekend is vital and already at this stage, it could be a relegation decider.
9. Mungret St Pauls (+2)
The 2021 Premier Intermediate champions had their finest performance in the senior ranks last Friday with a huge win over South Liberties. Barry Duff, Niall Mulcahy and Brendan Giltenane hit the net for Brian Begley’s side who are balanced all over the field.
The challenge will be to put back to back wins together, something that evaded them in their return to the top tier last year. They are also faced with a Garryspillane outfit that outmuscled them in 2022. This weekend will show how much they learned from their maiden season in senior.
8. Adare (=)
The win over Garryspillane would have been expected from Adare who will feel they belong in group one. Nonetheless it was a bogey game with Willie Griffin and Mike Mackey providing the crucial goals in the comprehensive win.
However, without Declan Hannon’s experience they will be wary of their group two opponents, none more than this weekend’s opponents Ballybrown with the winner likely to finish in the top two despite the barrage of fixtures yet to come.
7. Kildimo Pallaskenry (-1)
The defeat to Ahane will have hurt the City men who would have targeted that encounter, regardless of when it was pencilled in for. It was a six point defeat but KP rarely looked like winning the game, despite a late fightback.
Starman Kyle Hayes was kept quiet by Dan Morrissey and he will need to have a bigger impact if KP are to cause a shock against Na Piarsaigh. His positioning will be vital if they are to have any chance.
6. Ballybrown (+1)
They may be in group two, but Ballybrown already look like avenging the 2022 campaign where they missed out on the knockout stages. Against a dangerous Monaleen side, they completely shut them down, conceding just 0-14. At the other end they were impressive in putting up 2-21 and are the team to beat.
In Adare, they probably have their toughest assignment of the year in round two but backed by a pair of All-Ireland winners, Ballybrown appear determined to return to group one.
5. Doon (-1)
Losing a player of the elk of Richie English was always going to be tough but to be without six first choice backs is an unenviable task and one Doon couldn’t contend with against Kilmallock. They were porous at one end and blunt at the other with Barry Murphy’s absence also keenly felt.
In Adam English and Pat Ryan they have two of the best forwards in the county in addition to All-Star midfielder Darragh O’Donovan but the injuries have taken their toll and it could be a tough year for the East side.
4. Ahane (+1)
For the first time since 2018 when they beat Cappamore in group two, Ahane got their campaign off to a winning start. Tom Morrissey showed exactly why he will win a third All-Star later this year with a tally of 0-12, five of those coming from play while all around him, the Ahane contingent played their part.
Dan Minehan, a former U21 inter county player was excellent at full forward while Dan anchored the defence with Ciaran Barry at #6.
They face a formidable opponent in Kilmallock next up but will be buoyed by the fact that they could have already secured safety for 2024 at the very least.
3. Na Piarsaigh (-2)
As is the nature of power rankings, they are reactive and such is their loss to Patrickswell in round one, the reigning champions drop below the Well. The loss of William O’Donoghue was a huge blow to the Caherdavin outfit and his absence was clearly felt, as was that of David Dempsey and Jerome Boylan. Still Na Piarsaigh couldn’t get into their rhythm and after starting on fire, they did not supply Peter Casey with the desired supply of ball after he hit 1-2 inside ten minutes.
Have a big chance to regroup against Kildimo Pallaskenry but will be sweating on the fitness of the All-Ireland winning midfielder.
2. Patrickswell (+1)
Leapfrogging the champions are their usurpers Patrickswell who look a different one to the side that struggled through the 2022 campaign. Aaron Gillane produced a goal for the ages while Diarmaid Byrnes and Cian Lynch had their fingerprints on every thing good they did.
Outside of that, Patrickswell’s key men were counted and despite injuries to the likes of Evan Fitzgerald and Josh Considine, as well as John Kirby’s suspension, Eamonn Kelly’s men were full value for the win.
Against a depleted Doon, they have the chance to further their championship credentials this Thursday.
1. Kilmallock (+1)
Jumping up one spot is last year’s finalists and the 2021 champions Kilmallock who put Doon to the sword last Saturday evening. With five of John Kiely’s panel at their disposal as well as a number of former All-Ireland winners, Kilmallock arguably have the strongest panel in the championship and they showed that in the first round where they were without Graeme Mulcahy and Robbie Hanley.
Those two will be need in the latter rounds of the championship but for now, the likes Shane O’Brien, Oisin O’Reilly and Micheal Houlihan are holding down the scoring burden with some superb first round performances.
The team I picked to win the championship certainly laid down a marker.
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