By Mal Keaveney, email@example.com
EARLY attendees at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday October 15 next (1.30pm) can expect a cracking LIT Limerick Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship Final between Garryspillane and Murroe/ Boher.
This grade was only introduced in 2014 – it is a level between regular intermediate and senior.
The reward for the winners is a place in next year’s 16-team senior championship, a competition in which the finalists have regularly been a part of in recent times.
Over the last couple of years, two teams were promoted but that is no longer the case and only the champions will advance this time around.
It has the makings of a fine contest as both sides only came through their respective semi-finals after close-fought encounters.
Garryspillane, surprisingly beaten by Cappamore in last year’s semi-final, looked certain to exit the championship against Feohanagh at the penultimate stage just a few weeks back.
The Bouncers were behind 1-7 to 0-5 at half-time, having failed to score for a dozen minutes or so, and fell nine points adrift in the early stages of the second-half only to launch an almighty winning comeback.
Eoin Sheehan proved himself as goal-poacher supreme with a brace, while the third arrived from the stick of Michael O’Donnell. Donie Ryan, Danny Hayes and Colin Ryan also hit fine points for the winners, who are managed by Darren Hayes.
Garryspillane kept their opponents scoreless for the last 25 minutes.
Murroe/ Boher too had a difficult semi-final outing against Pallasgreen, with only a volley of late points ensuring a 0-15 to 0-12 win.
Relegated last season, the easterners are looking for an immediate return to the top-tier but were quite lucky last time out against a side that were forced to play with only 14 players for the second-half. It was points at the finish from Sean Tobin (2) and Jack Casey that earned Murroe/Boher a final place.
Tobin’s older brother and team captain Pat remains scorer-in-chief for Murroe/Boher.
Under the watchful eye of boss Ger Bradley, Murroe/ Boher have in their ranks marquee players in Seamus Hickey, Joe Keays, Darragh Kennedy, Barry Cusack and Jack Casey.
Garryspillane have been itching for senior hurling for a while now and are given a slight nod here to achieve an overdue goal.
Jason Mullins (St. Kieran’s) will referee the final.
• Past students of sponsors Limerick Institute of Technology include Galway’s All Ireland winning here Joe Canning, Jackie Tyrrell of Kilkenny (whose autobiography is currently on the bookshelves), Kieran Murphy (Cork) and Limerick’s own Paul Browne, now GAA Development Officer at the college.