The semi-finals of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship take place this weekend with a repeat of the 2018 fixtures.
First up is the meeting of Doon and Patrickswell at 2pm. At 3:45pm Kilmallock face Na Piarsaigh with both games taking place in the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
A year ago Doon and Na Piarsaigh advanced to the final after those fixtures. While they qualified for the semi-finals by virtue of finishing second in the table a year ago, Doon had to overcome Ballybrown in the quarter-finals this time around.
That game saw Doon pushed to their limit against the Group 2 side before they eventually won out 1-23 to 2-15. Patrickswell were the only Group 1 side to go undefeated in the group stages with three victories and a pair of draws.
Their round one victory came at the expense of Doon as they secured the two points in a 1-13 to 0-10. They followed this with wins over Na Piarsaigh and South Liberties before drawing with Kilmallock and Adare.
As mentioned, these sides met in the semi-finals last year and played out an epic contest where Doon would eventually earn a one-point 2-17 to 0-22 victory, advancing to a first county final since 2001.
While Doon were favourites for that clash, the ‘Well will hold that privilege this weekend after the opening round clash.
However, the potential loss of Aaron Gillane is a huge blow with the All-Star elect at the peak of his powers before the fractured jaw injury he picked up against Kilmallock in the group stage. It remains to be seen if Gillane will be fit to face Doon.
The second semi-final sees Na Piarsaigh meet Kilmallock in another rematch. These sides have met countless times over the past number of the years with the Caherdavin side winning out in each of their last two meetings.
Their last loss against the Balbec came in 2016, a fortnight removed from their All-Ireland club success.
Na Piarsaigh are aiming to do a first three-in-a-row in their history having beat Doon last year and Kilmallock in the decider in 2017.
They finished second in the group, level on points with Patrickswell but with an inferior head-to-head moving directly into the semi-finals.
Their opponents this weekend have flattered to deceive thus far in the championship and will need a huge performance on Sunday if they are to overcome the county champions.
In round one they beat Adare before snatching a draw at the death against a depleted Doon side the following week.
The round three clash with Na Piarsaigh would prove to be a disaster as the city side had sixteen points to spare in a 6-15 to 2-11 defeat.
They should have beaten Patrickswell in their next game when they drew before they beat South Liberties in the last group game to set up a clash with Ahane in the quarter-finals.
Against a spirited Ahane side, John Brudair’s men eventually clicked to book their place in the last four.
Na Piarsaigh will enter as heavy favourites and have the potential to run riot once more. Kilmallock will be hopeful that they can reverse the recent trend between the two teams and upset the odds.
Both games have to the potential classics but if you were putting the house on it and based on championship form to date, it would be hard to back against a Patrickswell v Na Piarsaigh final.