Matt O’Callaghan believes the structure of the Limerick SHC needs looking at.
In the final group games in the Limerick Senior Hurling championship last weekend there was little to play for as five of the six teams had qualified for the play-off while Bruff were already guaranteed to play one of Knockainey or Cappamore in the relegation final.
The gap between the teams at the top of senior Limerick hurling and the bottom has become drastic and something must be done to ensure that this gap does not continue to wide.
Matt O’Callaghan, reflecting on a one sided weekend in the competition feels it’s time for a change.
“There was nothing earth shattering, nothing unexpected happened. Basically overall, If you take the weekend in its totally, It was a non-event. A non event other than highlighting, the championship attractive needs to be addressed, it needs to be changed… What it highlights is the blaring disparity between the top and bottom teams.”
The worrying part about it is, this is the fifth round of the championship when serious issues should be at stake.”
In group 1, Kilmallock earned their place in the knockout stages with a perfect 100% record. Doon’s solitary loss in the group game against the Balbec. In fairness there was a fight between Ballybrown and Ahane to see who would finish third. Bruff propped up the table with five losses. Ballybrown and Doon played out an entertaining game last weekend with Doon coming out on top 1-17 to 0-17. The loss was enough for Ballybrown to finish ahead of Ahane with a superior scoring difference.
However, Kilmallock showcased the gulf in class between top and bottom in their dismantling of Bruff. Despite the game being a dead rubber, Kilmallock had 23 points to spare against Bruff as they put them to the sword 3-27 to 0-13. Yet group one was much more even than the second group where the top three were way too powerful for the other three clubs.
Group 2 saw a three way race for the top of the group as Patrickswell, Adare and Na Piarsaigh each took points off each other on route to qualifying. Against the other sides however, they picked up a number of heavy, one-sides wins. Last weekend alone this point was validated as the three won by an average margin of 22 points. Na Piarsaigh alone had thirty points to spare in their clash with Knockainey. Clearly something must be done in an effort to prevent such hammerings.
Knockainey face Bruff in the relegation play off. However, one of these teams will once again be subject to the same type of beating that was inflicted this year if they manage to win the play-off. The Intermediate divisions of Limerick hurling are highly competitive with different teams making their case for promotion each year, yet in the senior ranks their is a clear division between top and bottom, which is only widening with each passing year.
“If you take a quick glance at the two groups, you will see that there are six, maybe seven teams that have gone way way ahead of the rest.”
“We’ve got to have a conversation about it, the matter has to be discussed. There was nothing to be enthused about in the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship last weekend.”
Yet, one positive thing to come from this weekend of hurling was the confirmation of the quarter final pairings. Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock are safely through to the semi finals after topping their respective groups. The quarter final ties are mouthwatering with a repeat of last years county final between Patrickswell and Ballybrown as well as the clash between Doon and Adare. With five games left in the championship, there promises to be a number of classics between these evenly matched sides.
You can listen to Matt’s analysis of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship on the link below.