Kilmallock out on top after strong start | Limerick SHC Power Rankings #3

Kilmallock look the strongest side in terms of depth and despite the bookies still tipping Na Piarsaigh, the Balbec appear to be the team to beat.

The first set of rounds in the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship are in the books with Kilmallock the early front runners with a pair of wins.

Nine of the twelve have picked up a win at the least with just two yet to get off the board at all. With the championship to take a break for the next two weekends, we give our third edition of the power rankings.

Round Two rankings

  1. Kilmallock (+1)
  2. Patrickswell (+1)
  3. Na Piarsaigh (-2)
  4. Ahane (-1)
  5. Doon (-1)
  6. Ballybrown (+1)
  7. Kildimo Pallaskenry (-1)
  8. Adare (=)
  9. Mungret St Pauls (+2)
  10. South Liberties (-1)
  11. Monaleen (-1)
  12. Garryspillane (=)

12. South Liberties (-2)

Already it appears that the writing is on the wall for South Liberties after a second successive heavy defeat. After losing by 18 to Mungret, the margin was 16 when facing Monaleen in the second round. Last year’s semi-finalists have been dogged by retirements, injuries and transfers as they look set for the drop.

They have an unfavourable fixture list remaining but will hope to upset Garryspillane and hope the Bouncers don’t pick up points elsewhere in their bid for safety.

11. Garryspillane (+1)

Garryspillane got off the board with a draw against Mungret St Pauls in round two. Following a heavy defeat at Adare, it is a crucial point and they will know a win over Monaleen in round three will most likely secure safety.

A top two place is within reach should they win the remainder of their games and while that would prove very difficult, the display last time out will give them confidence of pulling out some results down the home stretch.

10. Monaleen (+1)

Monaleen picked up a big win in the SHC to ignite their campaign. They will have been disappointed with their display against Ballybrown in round one but showed why they are All-Ireland Intermediate champions with a powerful display against Liberties.

14 January 2023; Mark O’Dwyer of Monaleen celebrates after scoring a point during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final match between Monaleen of Limerick and Tooreen of Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Their big game players were in fine fettle and they can now begin to look up the table.

9. Mungret St Pauls (=)

With the big two in the second group facing off, Mungret St Pauls had the perfect opportunity to distance themselves from the pack on Friday evening when they met Garryspillane. However, despite leading late on, the City side couldn’t keep their opponents at bay as they played out a draw.

It is a valuable point and keeps promotion hopes in their own hands. But with Monaleen, Adare and Ballybrown yet to come, it feels like a missed opportunity.

8. Kildimo Pallaskenry (-1)

Another defeat for the City side but a promising first half against last year’s champions. They simply drop as their path to the quarters becomes all the more difficult and unlikely. Instead they will be seeking to pick up points to avoid an immediate drop to the second tier.

Had some big performances from the likes of Kyle Hayes and Darren O’Connell last time out but with the football championship on the horizon, it could be a difficult few weeks for the club.

Kyle Hayes turns Sen Finn in the 2020 Limerick PIHC semi final between Kildimo Pallaskenry and Bruff in Kilmallock. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography

7. Adare (+1)

There was nothing to choose between Adare and Ballybrown in Askeaton and they remain the likely sides to come out of the second group in the Limerick SHC. Adare will be disappointed that they didn’t leave with the victory having led for the majority of the contest.

But still it was a valuable point and they will feel the hardest challenge has been dealt with.

6. Ballybrown (=)

Similarly, Ballybrown will think the hardest test has been passed as they avoided defeat against an Adare outfit who were operating in 1A last year. Will take solace from their fightback but it wasn’t the greatest performance from the Clarina men who never really hit their stride.

Reliant on Andrew Cliffe frees but undefeated after two rounds, still favourites to top the group.

5. Ahane (-1)

While the result didn’t go their way against Kilmallock, it was a solid performance from Ahane who showed further improvement after an impressive round one display against Kildimo Pallaskenry. Led for large portions of the game against the Balbec and didn’t falter after conceding a goal immediately after the restart.

A second win will be hard to find but they can take encouragement that they have enough to take out one of their three remaining opponents to reach the quarters for the first time since 2019.

4. Doon (+1)

After being written off following a hefty defeat in round one, an injury plagued Doon responded like only they can to shock Patrickswell in the second round. Reshuffling the deck, the East side found the perfect response to breathe life back into their championship campaign.

12 September 2020; Pat Ryan of Doon scores one of his seven points during the Limerick County Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final match between Doon and Kilmallock at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

They will still be without a couple of key men for the remainder of the championship but will welcome back a few after the break and will be dangerous for any side.

3. Na Piarsaigh (=)

Got back on track against Kildimo Pallaskenry but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the seven time champions. The performances of Peter Casey and Adrian Breen masked any errors in the Na Piarsaigh play as they look to find the form that saw them dominate Kilmalock in last year’s final.

Still, they will back themselves to go three from three down the stretch and with David Dempsey returning against KP and William O’Donoghue expected back for the latter rounds, the Caherdavin men are still the odds on favourites with the bookies.

2. Patrickswell (=)

Maintain their position by virtue of that round one win over Na Piarsaigh but will be hurting by their inability to put back to back performances in. Also without a couple of key men like Josh Considine and Evan Fitzgerald, but they should be back in tow for round three.

Will fancy their chances of getting back on track against Ahane but that fourth round clash with Kilmallock could be crucial if they are to earn a top two spot.

1. Kilmallock (=)

The only team with a perfect record after two rounds, Kilmallock have shown their immense quality and battling nature thus far. They were almost flawless against Doon but had to dig in against Ahane before pulling clear. Both came without All-Ireland winners Graeme Mulcahy and Robbie Hanley.

Gavin O’Mahony scores a goal for Kilmallock in their 2023 Limerick SHC clash with Ahana. Credit: Tom Beary

They look the strongest side in terms of depth and despite the bookies still tipping Na Piarsaigh, Kilmallock appear to be the team to beat.

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