Following on from @TreatyStones excellent football previews last weekend, I’ve decided to do the same for hurling and include all 15 championship games being played.
SHC GROUP 1
Adare v Doon - Saturday 7pm in Kilmallock. Referee: Johnny Murphy
Shane Fitzgibbon leads last year’s finalists into his first championship game as manager in the pick of the Group 1 fixtures. A repeat of last year’s semi-final, which Adare snatched late-on, this has the makings of a good one. The return of Declan Hannon will be a boost but Doon’s youngsters are a year older and hungrier. They might nick it.
[B]Verdict - Doon
Murroe/Boher v Knockainey - Saturday 7pm in Bruff. Referee: Jason O’Mahony
Knockainey look to have drawn the short straw in what is by far the stronger of the two groups. Maurice Nelligan of Kilmallock is over them this year and he’ll have them fired up for sure. M/B, with Seamus Hickey back from his cruciate injury, should have too much but Knockainey are dogged and will be targeting this one if they’re to avoid relegation.
[B]Verdict - Murroe/Boher
Ahane v Patrickswell - Sunday 2pm in Bruff. Referee: Donal Enright
There was a time that this would have been expected to be a county final. Not these days. Ahane exited last year’s championship on a hiding and The Well have been rebuilding for a few years since their last win in 2003. Cian Lynch is a potential match-winner but is unavailable for the opening two rounds as he’s facing the Leaving Cert. This will level the playing field somewhat but I fancy Patrickswell to come through, just.
Verdict - Patrickswell
SHC GROUP 2
South Liberties v Effin - Friday 7pm in Caherconlish. Referee: Declan O’Driscoll
Group 2 is the more open and there’s certainly one quarter-final spot up for grabs. Equally, both teams could be sucked into relegation such are the fine margins of the new system. There’s little between these two and Effin had a very impressive win over Doon in the league recently. Liberties have been operating at this level for that bit longer and their experience gets them the nod. The Hack always is fired up for the first round!
[B]Verdict - South Liberties
Granagh/Ballingarry v Ballybrown - Saturday 7pm in Rathkeale. Referee: Richard Moloney
Like the above fixture, both could be involved at either end of the competition. Eamonn Kelly has departed Ballybrown for the Kerry seniors but Stevie O’Reilly returns from a long-term injury to bolster the defence. G/B have been motoring quietly of late and are capable of winning this. They won’t lack for effort but may just fall short.
[B]Verdict - Ballybrown
Na Piarsaigh v Kilmallock - Sunday 7pm in Bruff. Referee: Jason Mullins
Clash of the Titans with both under new management. Both will easily qualify out of the group but neither will want to lose here. David Breen will be a big loss to Na P and I feel Kilmallock may have that bit more to prove. Wouldn’t rule out a draw.
[B]Verdict - Kilmallock
Blackrock v Knockaderry - Saturday 5.15pm in Kilmallock. Referee: Trevor Mann
Knockaderry surprised many by reaching the final last year and have the benefit of a game played, which they lost narrowly to Croom. Blackrock would been seen as a coming team and if they’re serious about it should win here.
[B]Verdict - Blackrock
Bruree v Dromin/Athlacca - Saturday 5.15pm in Bruff. Referee: Aidan Ryan
Big win for D/A in Round 1 was matched by a 6-pont loss for Bruree against Bruff. Neighbouring parishes will bring out the best in each other and this could be fiery. Athlacca look to have more but Bruree will be up for this one.
[B]Verdict - Dromin/Athlacca
Hospital/Herbertstown v Croom - Sat 7pm in Kilfinane. Referee: Denis Richardson
Croom looked impressive in winning a tough game in the opening round. I believe H/H may be struggling and have no game played yet. Hard to see past a comfortable win for Croom but they’ve traditionally found this opposition very difficult.
[B]Verdict - Croom
Bruff v Garryspillane - Sunday 1.30pm in Kilmallock. Referee: Justin Daly[/B]
Bruff accounted for Bruree in Round 1 with the Bouncers well beaten by D/Athlacca. I’d expect a similar outcome here.
[B]Verdict - Bruff
IHC - GROUP 1
Mungret v Glenroe - Friday 7pm in Bruff. Referee: Padraig Power[/B]
Early meeting of the two favourites in this group. Glenroe won the corresponding encounter last year and both will have ambitions of winning this championship outright. Last year’s result to be repeated I think.
[B]Verdict - Glenroe
Newcastlewest v Claughaun - Friday 7pm in Croagh. Referee: Patrick O’Carroll[/B]
NCW have failed to field a team in a league fixture to date and all of their focus has been on their football clash with Abbeyfeale last week. Could be a good time for Claughaun to come in under the radar.
[B]Verdict - Claughaun
Feenagh/Kilmeedy v Caherline - Sunday 1.30pm in Clarina. Referee: Paddy Lyons[/B]
Last year’s Junior champions meet the team that most fancy to be relegated. Old money and experience could be the key here.
[B]Verdict - Caherline
St. Kieran’s v Monaleen - Saturday 7pm in Askeaton. Referee: Mike Mann[/B]
Kieran’s held their own last year but Monaleen have a nice blend of experience and rising stars with
several county minors involved. It’ll be enough to see them home.
[B]Verdict - Monaleen
Cappamore v Killeedy - Saturday 7.15pm in Mungret. Referee: Liam O’Sullivan[/B]
Hard to call this one. Jack Aherne would be the main man for Killeedy but may not play due to injury. Cappamore will have a good shot if he’s missing.
Verdict - Draw