Moving round in group stage of hurling championships
By Shane Brophy
The set-up of this years club championship group stages sees winners take won winners from the first round of group gaps, with losers taking on losers, so all teams come into this weekends second round of games at no disadvantage, with the winners eye moving a step closer to the knockout stages, while the losers know they can’t afford another defeat.
SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Friday 10th September
Group 4: Borris-Ileigh v Kilruane MacDonaghs in Semple Stadium @ 7.30pm.
A repeat of a North semi-final Kilruane won rather comfortably four weeks ago. However, Borris-Ileigh were far from full strength on that evening and adding the psychological motivation of making up of that defeat, they should be well primed.
Kilruane produced the best result of round one with their win over Nenagh more impressive than the final scoreline suggested. The manner of the performance coming a week after a North final defeat was noteworthy and if they can produce another win here, it will officially confirm them as title contenders.
Saturday 11th September
Group 1: Drom & Inch v Upperchurch/Drombane in Semple Stadium @ 3.30pm.
In a group that also contains a rampant Thurles Sarsfields, this is virtually do or die for both sides, particularly for Upperchurch who have to face Sars in their final game. Their narrow loss to Eire Og Annacarty was a big blow and while Drom will hold no fears for them, the mentality of knowing it will be difficult to qualify from here could be tough for them to overcome. Drom were almost sunk by Sarsfields in round 1 conceding three goals in the first ten minutes but recovered well and will look to take momentum from their second half performance. Verdict: Drom & Inch
Group 2: Holycross/Ballycahill v Mullinahone in Littleton @ 2.30pm.
Both sides were first round losers by narrow margins so a close encounter is in store. The loss of Bryan O’Mara through another arm break is a major blow to Holycross as it robs them of their centre back and prevents them from being flexible to use Cathal Barrett in other areas. They were slow to get going against Toomevara and can’t afford to do the same against an experienced Mullinahone who were with Clonoulty/Rossmore for long stages.
Group 4: Roscrea v Nenagh Eire Og in Toomevara @ 5.30pm.
A virtual elimination game between these two North rivals. The manner of the performance in the loss to Kilruane was concerning for Nenagh who need to tighten up all over the field, however, moving Barry Heffernan up the field from full back would surely get more out of him and benefit the team as a whole.
Roscrea just couldn’t find spaces against Borris-Ileigh to play but with the pressure slightly more on Nenagh, if they can stay in the game into the second half, it would play into their hands. Verdict: Nenagh Eire Og
Sunday 12th September
Group 1: Thurles Sarsfields v Eire Og Annacarty in Dundrum @ 6.00pm.
A winners match-up where Thurles Sarsfields will be expected to win, however, Annacarty upset them by nine points in the group stage two years ago and Sars won’t have forgotten that. The Sars line-up has a fresh look to it all over the field and you feel that rebuild was long overdue but with the quality of young player coming from Durlas Og year on year, they won’t be down for long.
Annacarty will relish this opportunity as they won’t be fancied by many but this is where they tend to deliver and they should give Sars a good test. Verdict: Thurles Sarsfields
Group 2: Toomevara v Clonoulty/Rossmore in Semple Stadium @ 1.30pm.
Another winners contest and one where the winners should take a major step into the quarter finals. Toomevara bounced back from their North championship exit to Kiladangan with a dominant win, for the most part, over Holycross. The challenge for Eoin Brislane’s side now is consistency and to build on that and if they can take the scalp of Clonoulty, it would be a huge fill-up for the development of the Greyhounds. However, the West side remain a step ahead, even with a few new faces, still remain very strong. Verdict: Toomevara
Group 3: Kiladangan v JK Brackens in Nenagh @ 5.30pm.
As much as the Loughmore/Castleiney game in round 1 would have focused the minds in Kiladangan following last years county final, this one will as well considering JK Brackens were the only side to avoid defeat to them last year. It was a game Kiladangan had well in hand but almost lost so they should be well primed for this one.
Brackens win over Moycarkey in round 1 went against recent more but they seem to be finding their rhythm again but might find Kiladangan in a focus mood.
Group 3: Loughmore/Castleiney v Moycarkey/Borris in Holycross @ 6.00pm.
A losers contest between these two near neighbours. They met in the Mid semi-final a month ago where Loughmore won by just two points. Moycarkey were expected to kick on against JK Brackens but came up short and now find themselves in a do or die game with their Mid rivals. Loughmore will be favourites but as well as they have hurled in recent time, they are falling short in some big games and Moycarkey will aim to take this one as deep as possible into the second half. However, Loughmore look to have too much class overall.
SENIOR HURLING – O RIAIN CUP
Saturday 11th September
Group 1: Thurles Sarsfields v Kiladangan in Templederry @ 5.30pm.
These two second teams were winners in round 1, most surprisingly Kiladangan against Burgess. However, Sarsfields scored 3-26 against Carrick Swans and their forwards will be hard to contain.
Verdict: Thurles Sarsfields
Group 2: Clonakenny v Templederry Kenyons in Templemore @ 1.30pm.
Any negative hangover from their 25-point North quarter final defeat were well and truly dispelled by Templederry in their opening round win over Newport. They are back on track and considering they were missing Adrian Ryan, and Gearoid Ryan for the latter part was impressive.
Clonakenny will feel they left a win behind them against Silvermines when held to a draw but this is a major step-up and they will have it all to do.
Verdict: Templederry Kenyons
Group 3: Sean Treacys v Gortnahoe/Glengoole in Semple Stadium @ 12.00pm.
The last two intermediate champions go head to head after impressive opening round performance. Gortnahoe’s performance in defeating Ballina suggests they could to a Meath ladies, and go straight to contending for higher honours immediately. However, as impressive was Sean Treacys draw with Killenaule, but Gortnahoe’s ability to get goals could be decisive. Verdict: Gortnahoe/Glengoole
Group 4: Lorrha v Portroe in Cloughjordan @ 2.00pm.
These two sides played out a nine-goal thriller at the same venue in the group stage last year in a winner-takes-all round three game. It isn’t quite that this time round but considering both lost their first round games, for the loser their championship ambitions are likely to be over. Lorrha won last year with the help of two Patrick Maher goals, whom they don’t have this time round. However, they played well in stages against St Mary’s, as did Portroe against Cashel with thirteen men for a finish. Verdict: Draw
Sunday 12th September
Group 1: Carrick Swan v Burgess in The Ragg @ 5.30pm.
Both sides will be hugely disappointed with the manner of their performances in round 1, particularly Burgess who hit eighteen wides in the loss to Kiladangan. They missed Stephen Murray and will be tempted to put him out from the start in a game they need to win, as to the Swans who are injury hit this season.
Group 2: Silvermines v Newport in Nenagh @ 1.30pm.
A repeat of last years quarter final which Newport won by a crushing 23 points. The Mulcair men have still to find the form this year that saw them reach the semi-finals with their first round loss to Templederry not a true reflection of how they played overall.
Silvermines are playing a waiting game for some of their talented younger players to mature and if they fail to get a result here, depending on how Clonakenny get on, may be facing a relegation battle.
Group 3: Killenaule v Ballina in Borrisoleigh @ 2.00pm.
It’s back to Borrisoleigh for Ballina on Sunday, the scene of their 4-15 to 1-20 loss to Gortnahoe in round 1. However, you could argue this is a clash of two teams who have plenty of talent but lacking consistency. Killenaule were lucky to draw with Sean Treacys in round 1 and if they can get John O’Dwyer back on the field, could swing the tie in their favour.
Group 4: St Mary’s v Cashel King Cormacs in Cahir @ 2.30pm.
Two of the more impressive round 1 winners. How Cashel deal with Seamus Kennedy’s free role with St Mary’s could go along way to deciding this one. Cashel are still gelling in their five new faces but the two weeks should give Eoghan Connolly a chance to recover from a hand injury and if he does, relocate back to the half back line.
Saturday 11th September
Group 3: Boherlahan-Dualla v Kilsheelan/Kilcash in Cahir @ 2.00pm. Verdict: Kilsheelan/Kilcash
Moyle Rovers v Golden-Kilfeacle in Cashel @ 2.30pm. Verdict: Golden-Kilfeacle
Sunday 12th September
Group 1: Moyne-Templetuohy v Drom & Inch in Templemore @ 12.00pm. Verdict: Moyne-Templetuohy
Borrisokane v Cappawhite in Newport @ 5.30pm. Verdict: Borrisokane
Group 2: Ballybacon/Grange v Carrick Davins in Clonmel Sportsfield @ 2.30pm. Verdict: Ballybacon/Grange
Knockavilla Kickhams v Moneygall in Holycross @ 2.30pm. Verdict: Moneygall
Group 4: Shannon Rovers v Arravale Rovers in Templederry @ 1.30pm. Verdict: Shannon Rovers
Ballinahinch v Ballingarry in Clonoulty @ 5.30pm. Verdict: Ballingarry