OPINION: Combined XV from the PIHC Final opponents

This weekend’s Pemier Intermediate Final will take centre stage on Sunday night as it should with an abundance of talent on show.

The competition has been a shining light since it’s inception in 2014 and once again the cream of the crop has risen to the top to leave us with Kildimo Pallaskenry against Mungret St Pauls.

Kildimo Pallaskenry’s Shaun Barry gets away from Shane Barry of Mungret St Pauls in the first round Premier Intermediate Clash between Kildimo Pallaskenry and Mungret St Pauls. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography.

These sides played out a thriller in Round 1 and after the game I said that we had seen the preview for the final.

These sides have not disappointed and their clash is a highly anticipated one.

Ahead of the clash, I attempt to pick a combined XV (which was far from easy).

Goalkeeper

John Chawke and Conor O’Brien are both excellent keepers in their own right. O’Brien is keeping highly rated Louis Dee out of the team. However Chawke has kept three successive clean sheets and his outrageous puck of a ball a dangerous weapon for Kildimo Pallaskenry.

Full Back Line

Both full back lines have performed admirably during the campaign, albeit with Kidimo Pallaskenry having the much better defensive record. Nonetheless I would pluck for a pair of Mungret St Pauls men with one from KP. Conor Flahive had the unenviable task of picking up Darren O’Connell in their first encounter and did well on the dangerous marksmen. Similarly Ronan Kirby found himself in the company of Kyle Hayes the first night and acquitted himself well. In at full back, Cian Hayes has been superb for Kildimo Pallaskenry and will need to be at his best when faced with either Mike Mullins or Pa Begley on Sunday.

Half Back Line

Mungret St Pauls trio of Conor Hellewell, Brian Barry and Liam Harrington have been their standout line in the competition thus far. Each were on the scoreboard against Glenroe, with Barry’s a thing of immense skill.

Kildimo Pallaskenry’s half back line of Lorcan O’Leary, Barry O’Connell and Cathal Downes isn’t too shabby either. Any of these six would be more than deserving of their place in the team but when pushed I would go for Barry, O’Connell and Downes.

Cathal Downes breaks free of the Bruff challenge in the 2020 Limerick PIHC semi final between Kildimo Pallaskenry and Bruff in Kilmallock. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography

Midfield

Rory Duff’s consistency for Mungret has been incredible since his arrival onto the team a couple of years back and he would prove the winner in round one with his last hour point. While he brings the flair, his partner Eoin O’Doherty is more accustomed to the darker arts of the middle of the pitch bringing trojan workrate to the game. However, he was also on the scoresheet against Kildimo Pallaskenry and is usually good for a score a game. Their greater scoring threat edges the impressive Kildimo Pallaskenry midfield duo of Peter Nash and Tony McCarthy.

Half Forward Line

Kyle Hayes’s inclusion on any XV is undisputed and needs no explanation. However, while some can be accused of not translating county form onto their club performances, Hayes has been outstanding for KP this year. It is just a matter of where he will play and who will try stop him. Conor Staff will definitely operate around the half forward line for Kildimo Pallaskenry and brings huge physicality and work rate to the team. He may not be as skillful as others in the forward line but his contribution is huge.

Mungret’s Eoghan Mulcahy played the reverse fixture at corner back but could well line out on the 45’ this weekend after a stellar performance in the forward line against Glenroe. Again he has huge athleticism and a keen eye for a score. Mungret St Pauls captain Cian O’Brien and Pa Begley are both injury concerns and weren’t considered.

Kyle Hayes tries to get past Eoghan Mulcahy in the 2020 Premier Intermediate Hurling tie between Kildimo Pallaskenry and Mungret St Pauls in Clarina. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography.

Full Forward Line

Paul O’Brien almost single handily dragged Mungret past KP in the first round and a similar performance will be need on Sunday. He is Mungret’s leading scorer by a large distance but seems unnerved by the pressure that follows leading marksman. Niall Mulcahy notched 0-3 against Kildimo and provided a pair against Glenroe in the semi-finals. He is a hugely underrated talent and has been key for them this year. Again, the inclusion of Darren O’Connell is a no brainer with the forward taking his game to a new level over the past 12 months. He has grabbed four goals in as many games and could be the difference in who is promoted and who stays premier intermediate.

Darren O’Connell of Kildimo Pallaskenry wins possession despite the best efforts of Mungret St Pauls’ Conor Flahive in their 2020 Limerick Premier Intermediate Clash. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography

Mungret St Pauls/Kildimo Pallaskenry XV

John Chawke

Conor Flahive, Cian Hayes, Ronan Kirby

Brian Barry, Barry O’Connell, Cathal Downes

Rory Duff, Eoin O’Doherty

Eoghan Mulcahy, Kyle Hayes, Conor Staff

Paul O’Brien, Darren O’Connell, Niall Mulcahy

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