THE Limerick Intermediate Football Championship will be whittled down to two with both semi-finals to be played on Saturday.
At 4pm, St Senans will do battle with Kildimo Pallaskenry in Askeaton while at the same time Gerald Griffins will face Rathkeale in Newcastle West.
St Senans v Kildimo Pallaskenry
Saturday October 16 in Askeaton at 4pm
In Askeaton, St Senans will be looking to go one further than last year when they were beaten by eventual champions Claughaun at the same stage.
The West side were crowned Intermediate champions in 2017, but were relegated two years later after just missing out on the knockout stages in their maiden year at the grade. Senans will feel they belong back in the senior ranks for 2022 with the Foynes outfit one of the most impressive teams this year with three consecutive wins.
In the group stages, they were resounding winners over both Bruff and Monaleen, accumulating a scoring difference of +36 points in that time. In the quarter-final, they were impressive 1-11 to 0-4 winners against Pallasgreen.
However they will face the surprise package of the season in Kildimo Pallaskenry with the City side continuing their impressive build. KP earned promotion from the Junior B ranks just seven years ago but are now only two games from the senior ranks. They followed that ‘B’ Championship win by claiming Junior A honours in 2018 and now find themselves in the last four of the Intermediate ranks for the first time.
They started their campaign with an impressive win over Drom Broadford but were beaten by Crecora Manister, advancing due to scoring difference. But in the quarter-finals, they were highly impressive in overcoming city rivals and perennial IFC contenders Mungret St Pauls, winning out 1-13 to 1-11.
- 2020 IFC QF: St Senans 1-14 : 0-9 Kildimo Pallaskenry
Interestingly, St Senans’ second side overcame KP in the Junior B quarter-final in 2013. But now they find themselves in the same position with a place in the second tier final up for grabs. For St Senans they are seeking a fourth Intermediate final berth since 2014, with one win in that time. They fell to Na Piarsaigh in 2014 and Adare in 2016 before beating Galbally in 2017.
Although Kildimo Pallaskenry will feel like they are in bonus territory but will take some hope in the fact that they followed up the hurlers Intermediate success in 2017 with promotion in the football the following year. And with their hurlers winning the premier intermediate championship last year, could the club be set for another final.
Their only meeting in the Intermediate Football Championship came in the quarter-final stage last year when Senans were 1-14 to 0-9 winners. But KP also lost to Mungret last summer before avenging that loss earlier this year. Could they do something similar this year?
Gerald Griffins v Rathkeale
Saturday October 16 in Newcastle West at 4pm
Pre-tournament favourites Gerald Griffins are one game away from returning to the Intermediate final for the third successive year as they face Rathkeale.
The Ballyhahill/Loughill outfit have put a marker down in both their games thus far in the competition, They received a walkover from Glin and booked their place in the last eight with a 2-16 to 0-4 win over Pallasgreen. In the quarters, they had twenty points to spare over Bruff.
For Gerald Griffins, it will be a case of third time lucky as they seek to avenge the county final losses of 2019 and 2020. They were beaten by Galtee Gaels two years ago in the decider before falling to Claughaun in 2020. Both those sides reached the knockout stages in their year’s senior championship, highlighting the quality contained in Limerick’s second tier of football.
Rathkeale were less impressive in the group stages and failed to pick up a win in their first two games. They began their campaign with a 2-3 to 0-9 draw with St Pats before booking their quarter-final spot with a 0-11 apiece draw with Mungret St Pauls. But, their best performance to date came in the win over Drom Broadford where they dominated in a 0-11 to 1-5 victory.
- 2020 IFC QF: Gerald Griffins 1-12 : 0-6 Rathkeale
- 2019 IFC QF: Gerald Griffins 0-15 : 0-14 Rathkeale
- 2018 IFC SF: Rathkeale 1-15 : 1-10 Gerald Griffins
This Saturday’s clash will be the third consecutive meeting of the teams in the knockout stages with Gerald Griffins winning the previous two outings. It will be the fourth successive year that the winner of this tie reaches the final.
Rathkeale will have revenge on their mind as they recall the previous meetings of the teams. In each of the last two quarter-finals, Gerald Griffins have ended their season, going on to contest the final both times. The 2019 defeat in particular will sting as Rathkeale looked home and hosed leading by six down the home straight before seven on the bounce saw Griffins advance to the semi-finals.
Rathkeale were victorious in the 2018 quarter-final with both sides meeting in their first year back at the grade as Rathkeale suffered relegation in 2017 while Griffins were crowned Junior champions.
Gerald Griffins are rightly favoured but this one could go either way.