The 2021 Limerick Hurling Championships continued over the weekend with a full set of fixtures.
In the Senior Championship, Kilmallock and Patrickswell kept their season’s alive while two Premier Intermediate club remain at 100% after two rounds in the form of Mungret St Pauls and Newcastle West.
Six teams are two from two in the junior championship while five are guaranteed progression in the Intermediate championship.
After a hectic week, check out some of the key talking points.
Ballybrown rue a huge missed chance
Much has been made of the rise of Ballybrown in recent years with back to back premier minor successes in 2019 and 2020 doing little to ease that. Last year, they were convincingly the best team in Section B, earning promotion and earmarking themselves as the team to upset the top four in Limerick hurling.
On Saturday evening, they were presented an opportunity to do so against Kilmallock where a win would have seen them into the knockout stages prior to the clash with Na Piarsaigh. And they looked set to upset the odds, leading from the first minute, until injury time before they were eventually reeled in by a plucky Kilmallock side.
Now the City side need a win against Na Piarsaigh to avoid a relegation play-off against Doon or Ahane.
What could have been for Ballybrown but after an impressive opening day performance, they won’t back against causing an upset against the defending champions.
Kilmallock and Patrickswell bounce back
Based on the bookies, Kilmallock were favoured to lose their opener against Na Piarsaigh but their performance on the night was below par as they always looked second best against the Caherdavin side. Similarily so did Patrickswell who were defeated by Doon on day one.
And while they left it late, Kilmallock still came away from the LIT Gaelic Grounds with two points on Saturday evening showing all their experience to snatch the victory from Ballybrown. If Nap can make it two from two, then Kilmallock will advance to a quarter-final where they will be favoured to make yet another semi-final.
The ‘Well were pre-match favourites against Doon but the one point loss flattered them with a late Cian Lynch goal putting a gloss on the scoreline. But on Sunday, they put Ahane to the sword, aiming for goals early on and duly obliging with three inside ten minutes.
In the end the margin was 13-points as Patrickswell laid down a marker. Their points differential guarantees progression and no one will fancy facing the 2019 champions in the quarter-final.
Kildimo Pallaskenry impress on Senior debut
Having not played at the grade for 70+ years, there was much anticipation at Kildimo Pallaskenry’s return to the senior ranks for 2021. Against Monaleen, they showcased just why they reached consecutive Premier Intermediate finals with a brilliant first half display. Their lead was six points at the first water break and seven at the half with intercounty duo of Kyle Hayes and Darren O’Connell relatively quiet.
Instead it was the like of Cathal Downes, Paudi Hartigan and Jack O’Keeffe who dominated for KP. There will be worries about their second half blip where they went nearly twenty minutes without a score but Monaleen never got within one score their opponents.
And when needed most, Hayes and O’Connell combined for the insurance score late on.
They now meet Adare where a win will secure a place in the SHC quarter-finals and Section B promotion decider.
Sunday gives them the opportunity to make a good start to senior life, into a great one.
Newcastle West make seamless transition to Premier Intermediate championship
Like KP, Newcastle West responded to a 2019 county final loss by avenging defeat the following year. In their first game in the Premier Intermediate championship, the West side had two points to spare against Dromin Athlacca. The South side did contest the relegation final of the PIHC in 2020 so the sides were seen as evenly matched in round one.
But against Glenroe, who made it to the semi-finals of the championship last year, Newcastle West were facing the team that beat them in the 2019 Intermediate final. Making no mistake at the second time of asking, Newcastle West lead from start to finish to secure their place in the knockout stages with a game to play.
Alongside Mungret St Pauls, last year’s finalists, Newcastle are the only team with a 100% record and are assured of their place in the last four.
So far so good for Willie Hurley’s men.