Matt O’Callaghan reviews final group round of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship with Sporting Limerick.
The group stage of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship concludes this weekend and unlike the football last week end there is not a lot of excitement or anticipation as 5 of the 6 knock out places are already accounted for. The one place that is up for grabs is between Ahane and Ballybrown and it would a huge shift in points difference to see that 1/4 berth change hands.
Kilmallock v Bruff
Friday August 25 @6:30pm in Kilbreedy
This game is the very definition of a dead rubber. Kilmallock cannot be knocked off top spot and a semi final spot while Bruff cannot avoid the relegation playoff. In essence there is nothing to play for. However, Kilmallock will not want to take their foot off the gas as they head into a semi final spot while Bruff will be desperately trying to generate some momentum as they face in to the relegation playoff.
Matt: “In the context of the table and in the configuration of the final standings, this is an absolute dead rubber, irrespective of how the result goes. It is not going to change anything in the standings, Kilmallock will finish top, Bruff will finish bottom. It’s very hard to see Bruff getting anything out of this game on Friday evening.”
Ballybrown v Doon
Sunday August 27 @6:45pm in Childers Road
Easily the most important game of the weekend. Indeed it is the only game that can see a change in the knock out places. Doon are already guaranteed a 1/4 final place but it is Ballybrown that have the most to lose in this encounter. Should Ballybrown suffer a heavy loss to Doon and Ahane record a big win over South Liberties then you could see Ahane into the 1/4 finals. It is however somewhat unlikely as there is a huge 27 point swing between the two clubs in scoring difference at the moment. Mathematically possible but realistically improbable.
Matt:”I think this is going to be close, but I just fancy Doon to get over the line in this one. I’ve seen Ballybrown a couple of times this year and they have recaptured the form that took them to the county final in glimpses and in patches. There is no doubt that if they brought the type of form they brought to the county semi final last year to Childers Road on Sunday evening, it could be enough to beat Doon but at this remove I would have Doon as slight favourites to win this one.”
South Liberties v Ahane
Sunday August 27 @6:45pm in Caherconlish
Again as with so many of the games this weekend, there isn’t a lot to get excited about with this game. South Liberties have no relegation worries as they cannot be overtaken by Bruff due to the head to head record. For their part Ahane have a remote chance of making the knock out stages but will have need to see Ballybrown suffer a huge defeat at the hands of Doon as well as winning their own game by a huge margin to swing the 27 points difference required to move into 3rd spot.
Matt: “I’ve seen Ahane a couple of time this year and they certainly are not convincing. Good in patches but unfortunately the patches have been in short periods. They seem to be very dependent on Tom Morrissey for scores. I am tipping Ahane to win this one but not do enough to break into the top three.”
Adare v Monaleen
Saturday August 26 @6:30pm in Ballybrown
Knockainey v Na Piarsaigh
Saturday August 26 @6:30pm in Caherconlish
Patrickswell v Cappamore
Saturday August 26 @6:30pm in Bruff
The Group 2 scenario is pretty straightforward. It is basically a battle to decide who gets the semi final spot with the top three already guaranteed to make the knockouts. For their part, Adare will be hoping to beat Monaleen and then hope Patrickswell lose. If Na Piarsaigh beat Cappamore and finish level with Monaleen then Monaleen will top the group on the head to head with Na Piarsaigh. As for Monaleen, they look all but safe but could still be dragged into the relegation playoff should Cappamore and Knockainey pull off surprising wins.
Matt: “Monaleen appeared to have the job done perhaps when they picked up three points. In the last round I though they were poor. They have been minus a number of players that have gone abroad for the Summer. Im tipping Adare to beat Monaleen.
“Likewise I cannot see Knockainey stopping Na Piarsaigh from winning and winning handsomely. Likewise I cannot see Cappamore stopping Patrickswell. So at the end of the day, I believe that Na Piarsaigh will go through to the semi final and Knockainey will go through to what will be an all south Limerick with Bruff.”
You can hear Matt O’Callaghan’s full review in the link below.
For some of the most insightful GAA writing locally, you can read Matt in the Weekly Observer (Wednesday) and Vale Star (Thursday) each week.