LISTEN: Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship 2020 Preview


WHILE the Limerick SHC is one of the premier competitions in the country, the Premier Intermediate Championship is arguably the most competitive with each team harbouring genuine promotion aspirations.

With eight teams fighting it out for a place in the Senior ranks, we preview the two groups ahead of the kick off on July 24.

Group 1

  • Bruff
  • Knockainey
  • Glenroe
  • Dromin Athlacca

Bruff’s first roun win against Dromin Athlacca last year would prove crucial as they qualified ahead of the south side on head to head. They would run out of steam against Kildimo Pallaskenry in the semi-finals.

They were finalists in 2018 but fell to Garryspillane at the final hurdle. In Sean Finn and Paul Browne they have two of the premier players in the division and this should stand to them. Interestingly, the Dromin Athlacca game will be the only rematch as they are paired with two newcomers.

Bruff’s Sean Finn clears during the 2018 Limerick PIHC Final

One of those newcomers is Knockainey who were relegated from the Senior ranks last year. It is thier first year in the competition since they were promoted alongside Bruree in 2015. That year they won five of their seven group games but lost to Bruree in the decider.

In truth, their relegation as a couple of years in the making as they struggled in the top tier. The PIHC will allow them the chance to regain confidence with a strong start vital for the cause.

The other newcomer is last years Intermediate champions Glenroe who defeated Newcastle West 1-13 to 0-10 in the decider last autumn. This brought to an end years of close calls as they lost the decider in 2017 to Kildimo Pallaskenry as well as semi-finals in ’18, ’16, ’15 and ’14.

Nonetheless, they have finally earned the right to compete in the PIHC and they will be a huge threat in this group which appears to be the weaker of the two. Having been so close in recent years, they will be keen to make up for lost time.

2019 Limerick Intermediate Hurling Champions Glenroe

After winning the Intermediate Championship in 2018, Dromin Athlacca now have a years experience at this grade under their belt. And in their first year in this tier, they more than acquitted themselves well as they were very unlucky to have missed out on the semi-finals.

Their three losses came against sides that would reach the knockout stages including the final pairing. They will fancy their chances of progression to the semi-finals where the games will take on a narrative of their own.

Predicted Finish

  1. Bruff
  2. Dromin Athlacca
  3. Glenroe
  4. Knockainey

Group 2

  • Kildimo Pallaskenry
  • Mungret St Pauls
  • Cappamore
  • Bruree

Last years losing finalists Kildimo Pallaskenry will be desperate to avenge that defeat to Blackrock, having had two bites at the cherry. They were arguably the most impressive team in the division last summer, finishing top of the group stages with twelve points from the fourteen on offer, winning five and drawing two. They continued this in the semi-finals as they overwhelmed Bruff 2-20 to 2-9 ibut would come unstuck in the pair of finals against the Rockies. They are a young side laden in talent, most notably Kyle Hayes and Darren O’Connell and will enter as favourites to win the competition out.

Mungret St Pauls have reached successive semi-finals in the competition after earning promotion to the grade in 2016. They will rue a second half collapse in the semi-finals last summer as they seemed destined for a final clash with City rivals KP.

Leading Blackrock by 10-points approaching the half in their last four tie, Mungret fell apart in the final forty minutes as Blackock turned the deficit into a nine-point winning margin. If they can shake that performance, then they are hot favourites to join Kildimo Pallaskenry in the last four.

In their first year since being relegated to the PIHC ranks, Cappamore found the going extremely tough as they only mustered two wins from seven last year. However, one of those wins did come against the eventual champions Blackrock and they drew with the other finalist KP.

As such, they are a match for any side on their day and the shortened format should suit the East side with each game of huge importance.

Like Cappamore, Bruree finished their campaign with just two wins but they also managed a pair of draws in the competition. When they met Cappamore in the group last year, they were heavy 4-15 to 0-11 winners and that should stand to them.

However, they did lose to both Mungret and Kildimo. Since their relegation in 2016, they are yet to reach the knockout stages but there is never an easy game against Bruree. Up against it but they will not be fazed by any side.

Predicted Finish

  1. Kildimo Pallaskenry
  2. Mungret St Pauls
  3. Cappamore
  4. Bruree

Knockout Stages

It is hard to envisage Kildimo Pallaskenry and Mungret not coming out of their group and thus avoid each other in the knockout stages and regardless of whoever comes out of Group 1, the City sides should have enough to reach the final.

In the final, Kildimo Pallaskenry’s 2019 experience should stand to them but the pain of successive semi-final losses could swing the balance in Mungret’s favour.

While Kildimo Pallaskenry have the star power, Mungret‘s overall depth and talent could be the difference.

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