County Hurling Championships Quarter Finals preview
By Shane Brophy
Kiladangan v Holycross/Ballycahill at FBD Semple Stadium @ 7.45pm
Kiladangan will be strongly favoured to reach another county senior hurling championship semi-final, against a Holycross/Ballycahill side that are playing their first quarter final since 1999.
It has been an incredible barren period for the storied Mid Tipp club who have four county titles to their name, the most recent in 1990. They have been building steadily in recent years and getting out of the group stage is another big step in their development.
They can go into this Friday’s clash with Kiladangan with an element of freedom as they won’t be expected to progress but that makes them a dangerous prospect, and they have forwards in Darragh Woods, Cathal Barrett and Ben Hennessy to cause problems.
Kiladangan will have been targeting this stage to hit their peak and there is no doubt that they have the strength in depth to add to their county title success in 2020. Their sluggish periods in games have proved costly but when they are on it they are hard to stop. If fully tuned in, they should progress. Verdict: Kiladangan
Loughmore/Castleiney v Roscrea at FBD Semple Stadium @ 3.30pm
Roscrea are playing in their first county quarter final since 2005 and have it all to do against a Loughmore/Castleiney side that have motored nicely through the group stage.
The Rossies are probably surprise quarter finalists after being promoted last year but they have to take the opportunity that is afforded to them and the fast sod of Semple Stadium should be to their liking as they like to work the ball through the lines.
However, with Loughmore’s proficiency in football, they’ll be more than prepared for the style Roscrea will bring to proceedings who will need everything to go right to win, including Luke Cashin nailing all placed balls.
Loughmore have been good without being great so far but this is the time when they usually a higher gear and with a weekend off, they should come in refreshed and should have too much scoring power for Roscrea. Verdict: Loughmore/Castleiney
Toomevara v Clonoulty/Rossmore at FBD Semple Stadium @ 2.00pm
Probably the hardest of the quarter finals to call. The sides last met in the knockout stages of the championship in 2018 when Clonoulty/Rossmore won a semi-final before going onto win the title.
The West side progressed to this stage after seeing off the challenge of Mullinahone in the preliminary quarter final last Sunday where Conor Hammersley’s return from the US has been timely as has added a welcome added scoring threat in attack. Robert Doyle’s move to full forward has been a success and he finally added a scoring arm to his ball-winning ability with four points from play.
Toomevara have been ticking along nicely in the county championship with wins over Kilruane MacDonaghs, Moycarkey/Borris and Roscrea, but they know that this is a step-up against an annual knockout stage contender.
The greyhounds are moving nicely as a club with their under 19’s into a county final with Darragh McCarthy the huge addition to their attack this year at just eighteen years of age. Having lost in the quarter finals last year, they will be keen to go a step further, but manager Ken Dunne will have them believing they can go the whole way, and they have the hurling ability to do so, but this will be a serious test of their credentials. Extra time might be needed to decide this one. Verdict: Clonoulty/Rossmore
Drom & Inch v Thurles Sarsfields at FBD Semple Stadium @ 3.45pm
The tie of the round on paper between these two Mid rivals. However, Thurles Sarsfields have had much the better of the recent clashes between the sides.
Having overcome Nenagh Eire Og on Saturday, Sarsfields appears to be coming to the boil at the right time, and of the remaining contenders, have the greatest competition for places considering their bench has been to the fore in a number of games, added to by Eoin Purcell last weekend.
Drom & Inch progressed to the knockout stages with a game to spare but the eleven point loss to JK Brackens in a dead-rubber game wasn’t a good indication of a team looking to maintain momentum.
On paper they have played good enough to win a county title and the return to form of Tommy Nolan this year has been a big boost. However, they need to produce a performance we haven’t seen from them in a number of years if they are to reach the last four. Verdict: Thurles Sarsfields
By Liam Hogan
Lorrha v Clonakenny in Nenagh @ 3.00pm
They have never met in championship hurling but a quick glance at records revealed their County Division 2 League final meeting in Borrisokane in 2019, when Lorrha won 3-16 to 1-21.
Lorrha are on the crest of a wave on the back of three wins in what was a very tough group with two of their Group 4 opponents, Killenaule and Gortnahoe/Glengoole also involved in quarter final action this weekend.Lorrha hope to have a full squad with Eoin McIntyre and Christopher Fogarty ready to return from injury.
Clonakenny are doing well this year. Mid Tipp runners-up, they drew with Newport and beat Silvermines with their inferior score difference carrying the through to the last eight despite losing to Burges in their final group game. They have leaders in Willie Ryan, Diarmuid Ryan, John Joe Ryan, Bobby Bergin, and Tipp panellist Cian O’Dwyer who continues to regain full fitness. Verdict: Lorrha
Burgess v Thurles Sarsfields in Borrisoleigh @ 3.00pm
Burgess went unbeaten in their group as they defeated Silvermines, Newport and Clonakenny. Beaten semi-finalists last year, they yearn for a repeat of their 2018 county final success. Theys have plenty talent to pull from with Donagh Maher leading them while Stephen Kirwan, Eoin Hogan, Bill O’Flaherty in the attack plus Johnnie Mulqueen, Keith Nealon and Pat Woods are well known for their great defensive work. The one man who is their kingpin is Stephen Murray.
This game will see Thurles Sarsfields feature in their fourth quarter final in a row. Backed by former Tipp senior star Michael Cahill at centre back, they won two of their group games when they defeated Eire Og Annacarty and Sean Treacys. They lost to Carrick Swan by a point. They have plenty more talent with Kieran Moloney, Tommy Maher, Rory Purcell, and Mossie McCormack but this might be a step too far for them. Verdict: Burgess.
Carrick Swan v Killenaule in Ardfinnan @ 2.00pm
Killenaule have been impressive so far. Their first round win over Portroe was the sign of what was to come. Ok, they lost narrowly to Lorrha in their second game but returned to their form when securing late points to force a draw with Gortnahoe.
Relegated in 2019, Killenaule has reached the knockout stage in 2020 and 2021, the latter losing in the final to Templederry. With Declan Fanning at the helm, he has put together a team of talented players in Padraig, Kilian & Joe O’Dwyer in defence while the Feehan brothers plus Dean O’Connor, Eoin Barry and Tom Stakelum.
They should have enough to get by the Swans who defeated Sarsfields by a point and had nine to spare over Eire Og Annacarty, but drew with Sean Treacys. Much depends on Gavin O’Halloran whose accuracy is excellent. The experienced Kevin Lanigan and Danny O’Halloran continue to lead the spine of the team for a side that last reached the quarter final in 2020. Verdict: Killenaule
Cashel King Cormacs v Gortnahoe/Glengoole in Holycross @ 3.45pm
Operating in their third year at this level, Mid champions Gortnahoe/Glengoole have made steady progress with reaching the quarter final in 2021 and losing to Roscrea in last year’s final. They were in a difficult group in taking on Lorrha which resulted in a narrow defeat before accounting for Portroe before sharing the points with Killenaule. While depending on Keane Hayes they have a reliable defence with Brian Maher, Kevin Slattery and Martin Barneville forming a good half back combination.
Cashel King Cormacs arrived in the last eight on the back of three straight victories over St Mary’s, Ballina and Moyne-Templetuohy. The team continues to build with youth a major help as Ronan Connolly and Anthony Walsh have shown. Then there is Aaron Browne in goal with Eoghan Connolly at six while Ross Bonnar and Ger Browne lead the attack. Verdict: Gortnahoe/Glengoole
Sean Treacys v Portroe in Newport @ 5.00pm.
This is familiar territory for Sean Treacys as they have contested relegation in 2020 when the lost the semi-final to St Mary’s but survived the drop with a win over Ballingarry.
Portroe on the other hand must look back to 2018 for their meeting with danger when they defeated Mullinahone. will be a year to forget as they lost all three games although they did perform well in their final two. Always ready to die on their feet, they might have enough in the tank to survive this time. Verdict: Portroe
Newport v Moyne-Templetuohy in Holycross @ 2.00pm
Newport have diced with relegation for the last two years but came out with wins over Lorrha and Kiladangan. This season is best forgotten as they drew with Clonakenny but lost to Burgess and Silvermines.
They are up against a Moyne-Templetuohy side who were county intermediate champions in 2021 but have found this grade that bit difficult. Verdict Newport
By Shane Brophy
Borrisokane v Moneygall in Nenagh @ 1.30pm
A repeat of the North Final will get the quarter finals of the County Intermediate Championship underway.
Moneygall were hugely impressive 3-15 to 0-11 winners over Borrisokane in July and will go into this game as favourites, unbeaten so far in the campaign, including last Tuesday’s 2-23 to 3-17 win over Kilsheelan/Kilcash when they finished strongly to finish in second place in the group behind Boherlahan-Dualla.
However, they weren’t rewarded in terms of the draw as while they won’t fear Borrisokane, they would have wanted to avoid them. That is because that North Final performance has been an outlier for Borris as apart from that game, they have cruised to victory in their four other games. However, those wins over Kiladangan, Skeheenarinky, Ballybacon/Grange and Upperchurch/Drombane were against sides at the lower end of the grade, and Moneygall are a different kettle of fish. Verdict: Moneygall
Cappawhite v Kilsheelan/Kilcash in Cahir @ 2.00pm
Kilsheelan/Kilcash are facing into their fourth game in fourteen day. While it has been a tough schedule, they have momentum and are battled-hardened whereas a young Cappawhite side have been idle for three weeks. The West side have won five from five between divisional and county hurling, but Kilsheelan are the best opponent they will have played so far. Verdict: Kilsheelan/Kilcash
Drom & Inch v Golden Kilfeacle in Dundrum @ 2.00pm
Golden Kilfeacle benefitted from the new score-difference ruling as they scraped into the knockout stages. It is the only win the West side have recorded in championship so far as they have struggled for momentum despite having good young players.
Drom & Inch are a seasoned team, having reached the semi-finals last year and will be eyeing up going a step further. Verdict: Drom & Inch
Boherlahan-Dualla v Knockavilla Kickhams in Cashel @ 12.30pm
Boherlahan-Dualla have kicked on from last year and the arrival of Ger & Michael Paul O’Dwyer has strengthened their defence while Darragh Hickey and Tomas Ryan lead their attack.
Knockavilla Kickhams found their best form in their last game to see off Carrick Davins to leap out of the relegation spots into the quarter finals. Verdict: Boherlahan-Dualla
Arravale Rovers v Upperchurch/Drombane in Dundrum @ 4.00pm
Arravale are unlucky to find themselves in this situation and should have enough to save their status. Verdict: Arravale Rovers
Kiladangan v Shannon Rovers in Cloughjordan @ 5.00pm
A lot of familiarity with players on both sides but Kiladangan might have enough quality to save their status this weekend. Verdict: Kiladangan