Limerick Senior Hurling Championship Round Three Preview:
The Limerick Senior Hurling Championship is back this weekend with a full round of fixtures. Following the disappointment of last week’s outing against Clare, some of John Kiely’s panel will no doubt be relishing a return to club action.
Weekly Observer sports editor Matt O’Callaghan gave his predictions for what promises to be an intriguing round of fixtures.
Bruff V Ahane
Friday June 9 Caherconlish 7.30pm.
Bruff and Ahane clash in the first Group 1 game this weekend with both sides desperately seeking what would be a priceless victory. Bruff are struggling having lost their two opening games against South Liberties in round one by a point and then losing to Doon by 17 points in round two.
Ahane will be looking to get points on board after losing to Doon 1-12 to 11 point in round one and drawing with Ballybrown in the Gaelic Grounds a few weeks back. This is a crucial game for both sides. A win for Bruff would go a long way to easing their worries of dropping into the relegation playoff while an Ahane victory would give them a reasonable shout of a 1/4 final spot with two rounds remaining.
South Liberties V Ballybrown
Saturday June 10 Gaelic Grounds 5:45pm.
South Liberties eked out a one point win over Bruff in round 1 before turning in a good performance against a competitive Kilmallock side in round 2, losing by only 4 points.
Ballybrown have found it tough in this year’s championship with just one point from their two games so far.
Ballybrown will be warm favourites for the clash with South Liberties but under the guidance of Sean Hehir, Liberties are well-organised this season and they should make life difficult for Ballybrown.
Kilmallock V Doon
Saturday June 10 Gaelic Grounds 7.30pm.
This is undoubtedly the game of the weekend as the two heavyweights and table toppers of Group 1 go head to head.
Doon are top of Group 1 on scoring difference after impressive victories against Ahane and Bruff from their opening two games. Kilmallock also have a 100% record after wins over Ballybrown and South Liberties under their belt.
Considering both teams have scored huge tallies in their opening two games (Kilmallock 8-36 and Doon 5-36) it promises to be a high scoring and hopefully free flowing affair.
The winner of this tie will guarantee a place in the knockout stages and most likely a semi final spot. However, the loser will still be well placed to advance.
Monaleen V Na Piarsaigh
Friday June 9 Childers Road 7:30pm.
First up in group two this weekend is the meeting of newly promoted Monaleen and the 2015 All Ireland Champions Na Piarsaigh.
Monaleen claimed a point from their first game with Knockainey and went on to beat Cappamore in round two by 3-16 to 1-14. Now sitting in second place on three points, this is their biggest challenge of the group stages.
Na Piarsaigh have been imperious so far this year and look to have regained the appetite and desire that saw them claim and All-Ireland club title back in 2016. A comfortable win over Cappamore was followed up by a nine point win over current champions Patrickswell. They certainly seem to be the benchmark for the others to aspire to.
Verdict: Na Piarsaigh
Adare V Cappamore:
Saturday June 10 Bruff 7:30pm.
Adare are going into the game with a win and a loss having lost to Patrickswell in their opening game of the championship before rebounding to beat Knockainey in round two. They are currently joint 4th on the table with Patrickswell on 2 points.
Cappamore have yet to get a win in this year’s championship having lost to Na Piarsaigh and Monaleen in the opening two rounds. They are currently bottom of the table so getting something from this game is crucial to their hopes of avoiding the dreaded relegation playoff.
Knockainey V Patrickswell
Sunday June 10 Bruff 7:30pm.
Knockainey go into the game with a draw (Monaleen) and a loss (Adare) sitting in 5th place in the group and just one point ahead of bottom side Cappamore.
Patrickswell have had a mixed start to the championship having won their first game against Adare by two points and then losing to Na Piarsaigh in round two. The will be looking to bounce back with a win but Knockainey will prove to be a sticky proposition.