Lorrha captain Eoin McIntyre

Killenaule stand between Lorrha and final berth

By Shane Brophy
Semple Stadium, Thurles
Sunday, 6th September
Throw-in @ 1.30pm (E.T. & Pens)
Referee: Mark Jordan
After a winless championship run for three years, Lorrha are sixty minutes away from a first O Riain Cup final appearance since 2009 when they take on Killenaule in the semi-final at Semple Stadium on Sunday.

It’s amazing what one win can do for a team and after their opening round defeat against Thurles Sarsfields, there was much doom and gloom around the Lower Ormond club that this was going to be another under-par year. The pressure was on and after negotiating the Kiladangan hurdle in round 2, they haven’t looked back with impressive victories over Portroe and Templederry to reach the semi-finals for the first time in six years.

For years, Lorrha’s calling card has always been a sturdy defence but this year it is the opposite with the forwards leading the way, scoring fourteen goals in their last three games, averaging 4-19 so far in the championship, and if they hit that again Killenaule will have to find something special to match it, particularly as the South Tipp side have found goal-scoring a problem in the championship, managing just one so far, however point scoring hasn’t been a problem averaging twenty points to date.

A high scoring affair looks to be in the offing, particularly as Lorrha are leaky in defence and tend to start off slowly but they would have been happy with their second half performance against Templederry when they held them to 1-9 in the second period.

Lorrha wouldn’t have hurled in Semple Stadium as a team for ten years and that may count against them whereas Killenaule have played their as recently as last month. However, in players such as Brian Hogan, Ciaran Haugh, Patrick Maher, Cian Hogan, and Colm Fogarty, they have players that know the venue from hurling inter-county at various grades, and they will need to play a leading role again at the weekend. A shoulder injury picked up by Christopher Fogarty against Templederry is their only major worry.

John O’Dwyer continued his recovery from an Achilles injury in a forty-minute contribution against Thurles Sarsfields but he appears some way from his best. The South men relied heavily on frees of Eoin Shaw and Ciaran O’Dwyer in their quarter final but they have a livewire finisher in Eoin Barry. If Lorrha can stay disciplined in defence and take their chances in front of, they should have the firepower to progress to the final. Verdict: Lorrha