Doon back on track, Kilmallock show their grit & stalemate in key group two clash | Limerick SHC Round II Talking Points

While the first round performance against Doon was a demolition job, Kilmallock had to do it the hard way against Ahane to make it two from two.

After an exciting second round that saw just one team emerge with a 100% record ahead of the three-week break, we take a look back on some of the key points from the Limerick SHC.

Doon bounce back

Against all the odds, Doon got their season back on track with a two-point win over Patrickswell. On any given day, the East side would back themselves against their City counterparts but considering their injury woes heading into the game, few would have given them a chance. They were missing four All-Ireland winners and each of their first choice back six while Patrickswell defeated Na Piarsaigh in the opening round.

Nonetheless, it was the men from Doon that left Kilmallock with the spoils to reinvigorate their campaign. Darragh O’Donovan moved back to centre-back anchoring the makeshift defence with teenager Donal Coughlan pouring in five from play at the other end. Adam English chipped in with a number of frees while Pat Ryan and Kevin Maher hit the net.

Things won’t get any easier for Doon as they take on Na Piarsaigh after the break but another win would suddenly put them in pole position to finish in the top two and move straight into the semi-finals.

Kilmallock show their grit

While the first round performance against Doon was a demolition job, Kilmallock had to do it the hard way against Ahane to make it two from two. Trailing at the half to a Jack Butler goal, the Balbec hit back after the break through a Gavin O’Mahony goal but still couldn’t pull clear of Ahane. That was until the final quarter of an hour when they registered seven scores to see off their fellow round one winners.

Kilmallock’s Shane O’Brien gets his shot off despite the best efforts of Paddy Morrissey (Ahane) in the 2023 Limerick SHC. Credit: Tom Beary

In that time, their big forwards, namely Oisin O’Reilly, Micheal Houlihan and Shane O’Brien really came to the fore, hitting 0-14 between them. That takes their overall tally to 2-29 in just two games with Graeme Mulcahy yet to come into the reckoning.

Still after the swashbuckling display of round one, it will be pleasing for the Balbec to show that fighting spirit with Ahane value for their half time lead and parity late on. Tougher tests lay ahead for the 2021 champions but Fintan O’Connor will be delighted with the start nonetheless.

Na Piarsaigh mix experience with youth for first win

It wasn’t their best performance but a crucial one nonetheless for Na Piarsaigh who secured a maiden win of the campaign against Kildimo Pallaskenry. After the loss to Patrickswell, picking up the two points would have been paramount to the Caherdavin men.

And in the end they were comfortable. Yet, it was patchy at stages with Shane O’Neills men relying on a number of standout performances.

As they so regularly do for Nap, Adrian Breen and Peter Casey were in flying form up top, splitting 0-10 over the course of an hour.

Limerick Senior Hurling Championship Final, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 27/10/2018 Doon vs Na Piarsaigh Na Piarsaigh’s Adrian Breen celebrates his goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

However, a number of young stars made their presence felt on proceedings with first year senior starlets Wayne Kearns, JJ Carey and Vince Harrington making their mark. Kearns hit 0-3 while Harrington had a pair from wing back, each coming at important stages in the clash.

Further to that, David Dempsey made his return although Na Piarsaigh will be sweating on the fitness of his brother Keith whom he replaced. Still William O’Donoghue could be back for the next round and his return could be the catalyst for the seven time champions to find their groove.

Ballybrown and Adare stalemate could prove crucial

In a battle of the favourites to emerge from group two, there was nothing to separate Ballybrown and Adare on Sunday afternoon. It finished 1-17 apiece in Askeaton as they went tit for tat down the stretch. The result moves both to three points, level with Mungret St Pauls atop the group two table.

While both could look at a missed opportunity, at the same time each will be pleased to have avoided defeat against a promotion rival. It is a very competitive group but there is a possibility that the team to move into the top tier could be decided on scoring difference should they finish level on points. Mungret, Monaleen, Garryspillane and South Liberties will have their say but as it stands, Ballybrown and Adare just look a step above.

At the other end, it already looks worrying for South Liberties who have been on the end of two heavy defeats. Mungret St Pauls were 18-point winners while Monaleen’s margin of victory was 16. Up next for them is Ballybrown who will know the importance of not only the win but the score difference should they pick up the points.

Round three will be crucial for all sides but already the knockout stages are starting to take shape.

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