The Limerick Senior Hurling Championship quarter finals take place this weekend with Kilmallock taking on Ahane and Ballybrown meeting Doon.
Both games take place in the Gaelic Grounds this coming Sunday. Ahane take on Kilmallock at 2pm in the first game on Sunday, with the winners advancing to face Na Piarsaigh in the last four.
Last year Kilmallock eased into the semi-finals with an 4-27 to 0-13 victory over Murroe-Boher at the quarter final stage.
However, Ahane will be hoping to cause an upset after dramatically earning promotion back to Group 1 with Dan Morrissey’s last minute goal enough to defeat Ballybrown and ensure Ahane finished top of Group 2.
Ahane finished with four wins from their five games. That solitary loss came against Monaleen in the opening game before going onto win each of their remaining group games. Their last venture to the semi finals came in 2011 before they lost out in the final to Na Piarsaigh.
Kilmallock’s form coming into the game is patchier with just two wins from their five contests. Their wins came against Adare and South Liberties, with neither of those teams getting a result against any of the top four.
Kilmallock also suffered a heavy 6-15 to 2-11 defeat at the hands of Na Piarsaigh, the last time they played at the Gaelic Grounds, with real pressure on the Balbec to perform at the Ennis Road venue.
Ballybrown and Doon face off in the second quarter final at 3:45pm. The winner down to play Patrickswell in the semi finals with the Ciaran Carey managed side topping the topping Group 1 after the round robin stage.
Ballybrown narrowly missed out on promotion back to the top tier at the first attempt with the aforementioned Morrissey goal pushing Ahane one point ahead of the Evan Loftus managed side.
Overall, Ballybrown would finish on seven points in Group 2, with three wins, a draw and a loss to show from their five group games.
Twelve months ago, Doon reached a county final after qualifying directly for a semi final finishing second in the table in the group stage.
This year they will have to take the long route after finishing third in the table, a point behind Na Piarsaigh. Doon have a pair of wins and losses to show for their efforts thus far with a draw against Kilmallock in round two.
Victories over South Liberties and Adare were cancelled out by losses to both Patrickswell and Na Piarsaigh.
Their fifth round loss to Na Piarsaigh will have dealt a blow to confidence levels with the reigning champions having twelve points.
However, Doon will still enter the game as heavy favourites with neither Group 2 team managing to reach the semi-finals last year.
These sides also met in the group stages of the championship last year, with Doon winning out 1-12 to 0-9 to secure their top two status.
Ballybrown’s last trip to the semi-finals came in 2016, where they would eventually go onto contest the county final against neighbours Patrickswell.
However, if they are to reach the last four, they will need a huge performance against a seasoned Doon side.
Kilmallock and Doon will be firm favourites to reach the final four, but Ahane and Ballybrown are more than capable of pulling off a couple of shocks on Sunday.