FOR the fourth consecutive year, the last four standing in the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship are Na Piarsaigh, Doon, Kilmallock and Patrickswell after the former pair booked their place with comprehensive quarter final wins last weekend.
This Saturday there will be a double header of semi-final action with the clash of Doon and Kilmallock at 5.30pm before a rematch of last year’s county final between Patrickswell and Na Piarsaigh at 7.30pm.
In the later game, Na Piarsaigh will be looking to avenge that final defeat as Patrickswell look to maintain the title for the first time since the 1990’s. Last year’s win for Patrickswell came after they lost the 2015 decider to the same opponents.
Champions Patrickswell were far from their sharpest in their two group games as a late surge was enough to overcome a spirited Adare side in their opener while a late rally was needed to secure a draw with Doon in their second game.
Aaron Gillane, who has undergone hand surgery in the meantime, will be key for Ciaran Carey’s side as he has been at his imperious best thus far.
Their opponents Na Piarsaigh had to come through Ballybrown to reach this stage as they were far too strong for their City rivals in the Gaelic Grounds last weekend. Kieran Bermingham’s side were eight to the good at the half and were full value for a 0-26 to 0-13 win at the final whistle. However, the Caherdavin did look vulnerable in their opening day loss to Kilmallock.
Their last meeting in the semi finals came in 2011 as Na Piarsaigh were 0-20 to 0-15 winners en route to a first ever title. Na Piarsaigh have added four more titles since but Patrickswell are top of the Limerick SHC Roll of Honour with 20 titles.
In the earlier game, Kilmallock will be appearing in an incredible ninth consecutive semi final against a Doon side who are still looking for a maiden title. However, Doon appeared in the final as recently as 2018 while Kilmallock featured 12-months previously. Both were defeated by Na Piarsaigh in those county deciders.
Kilmallock are the form team heading into the last four as the only side with a 100% record in the competition after their group stage wins over Na Piarsaigh and Ahane. Back under the tutelage of Tony Considine who guided the side to county titles in 2010 and 2012, Kilmallock have been very impressive with Graeme Mulcahy once again in a starring role.
Doon reached the semi-finals after outlasting South Liberties 3-20 to 2-12 in the Gaelic Grounds last weekend. That win could have come at a cost however as Darragh O’Donovan was taking off early with Barry Murphy limping off at full time.
The loss of that duo added to the long-term absence of Richie English would be a huge loss to East side.
Last year the sides played out an entertaining 1-14 to 0-17 draw with both falling in the last four stage. They last met in the knockout stages in 2015 when Kilmallock beat Doon 1-14 to 0-15. A year prior to that, Kilmallock were 0-18 to 0-16 winners when they faced in the semi-finals.
Both Patrickswell and Kilmallock will come into the their games with a four week break under their belt with the final provisionally fixed for Sunday 20th.
It promises to be a memorable night at the LIT Gaelic Grounds with both games available on Limerick GAA TV!