This weekend will be the second consecutive Saturday with a Limerick SHC double header in the Gaelic Grounds. Like last weekends clashes, both games will be broadcast live on Eir Sport.
Doon v Na Piarsaigh
Saturday September 23 in Gaelic Grounds @3pm
First up on Saturday is the semi final clash between Doon and Na Piarsaigh. Doon were very impressive in their quarter final victory over Adare last Saturday. They were full value for the 2-18 to 0-10 victory as they reached a first semi final since 2014. Doon’s only setback thus far this year came against Kilmallock in the group stages as the Balbec stormed through Group 1.
These sides met in the group stages of the Championship last year as the then All Ireland Club Champions were beaten by Doon. Na Piarsaigh were subsequently knocked out at the group stage as Doon advanced to the quarter finals where they were beaten by eventual champions Patrickswell.
Na Piarsaigh will enter the game as favourites and indeed as favourites to win out the championship. The Caherdavin side reached the semi final as table toppers, although they were overturned by Adare in the third round of the group stages. Na Piarsaigh have incredible squad depth and the majority of their squad has represented Limerick at some level.
Four of Limerick’s victorious U21 XV will be on display on Saturday with Peter Casey, Ronan Lynch and Thomas Grimes all lining out for the first time since the All Ireland triumph. Barry Murphy will be in opposition and was in fine form last week for Doon in the Gaelic Grounds.
There will be a host of Limerick senior stars on show come Saturday with Doon looking to Richie English and Darragh O’Donovan to steer them into a first county final since 2000. However, Na Piarsaigh’s sheer depth in talent should see them advance to fourth county final since 2011. Yet, nothing will be taken for granted in this fascinating clash.
We asked Matt O’Callaghan to give us his thoughts heading into the weekend,
Matt: “I really think they (Doon) are going to put it up to Na Piarsaigh. Now Na Piarsaigh are a team of all the talents, a hugely talented team.”
“Na Piarsaigh are such a formidable side. I think Doon will put it up to them but It’s very hard to see Na Piarsaigh not qualifying for the semi final.”
Patrickswell v Ballybrown
Saturday 23 September in Gaelic Grounds @4.45pm
The neighbours meet again after their thrilling quarter final draw last weekend where Ballybrown snatched a last minute draw courtesy of Alan O’Connor. Although levelling late on, Ballybrown were ahead for vast periods of the game as they sought to make up for the 19 point loss at the hands of the ‘Well in the 2016 County Final.
Ballybrown brought an intense physicality to the game that upset the current champions who started without Cian Lynch who has been struggling with injury over the past month. Lynch did enter the game in th final quarter and made a difference as Patrickswell looked set to secure passage to the semis until O’Connor intervened.
Patrickswell know that they did not perform anywhere close to where they can but will also know that Ballybrown could have came away with the victory. Despite not having an members of the Limerick Senior Hurling panel at their disposal, this Ballybrown side have developed into a very strong unit and will be confident of upsetting the odds come Saturday.
Matt: “I think Ballybrown will take quite a lot from it (the drawn game)… It was their best performance of the year and it’s coming at a very good time… I think they are going to give it a right good go.”
“I still think the ‘Well will get over the line but it will be damn close.”
The reward for the winner will be a semi final clash with Kilmallock who have been highly impressive so far. These two games will be televised by Eir Sport once more as Limerick club hurling gets the recognition it richly deserves.