Adam Healy gains possession ahead of Loughmore captain Joseph Hennessy. Photograph: Bridget Delaney

Nenagh need to find same drive to beat Loughmore

By Shane Brophy
Semple Stadium, Thurles
Saturday 5th September
Throw-in @ 5.30pm (E.T.)
Referee: Fergal Horgan
The biggest question ahead of this Saturday’s county senior hurling championship semi-final against Loughmore/Castleiney is whether Nenagh Eire Og can do it again.

Their level of performance against Thurles Sarsfields was such that it will almost be impossible to reach the same levels again, the only way would be to dip a little but take a greater proportion of their scoring chances which they missed last Saturday which was the only negative from the performance.

That Nenagh are unlikely to reach the same heights again isn’t a slight on the team or the players, it’s just that it’s hard for a team to be that good in two successive games. Joint managers John Brennan and Noel Maloney had their charges superbly primed for Thurles Sarsfields and their passion on the field was matched by their subs and officials off it, and it is getting to that same level of focus will be their task this week.

Nenagh won’t get carried away with last Saturday’s victory, they know nothing it won yet as their goal remains on finally winning a second county title for the club and in the year they were due to celebrate the silver jubilee of their previous success in 1995, could the stars be aligning?

On the flip side, we know what we are going to get from Loughmore/Castleiney. They aren’t flash but they are efficient and they take their scores when they present themselves. In their four hurling championship games so far, none of them have been classics and even last Sunday’s quarter final win over Clonoulty/Rossmore was the most low key of the last eight ties but Loughmore won’t care in the world.

It’s easy to focus on Noel, John and Brian McGrath but they have match-winners on different days, from Evan Sweeney against Kilruane, it was John Meagher and Ciaran McGrath who did the damage last Sunday, and someone else will likely spring into the limelight this Saturday also.
Nenagh won the most recent contest between the sides, a 2018 quarter final in Dolla but they have improved since then, despite falling short in their quest for the ultimate prize and they should find enough to get one step closer again this Saturday. Verdict: Nenagh Eire Og