by Mal Keaveney
ONLY six teams are left standing in the Bon Secours Hospital Limerick Senior Hurling Championship.
Following the completion of the group stages, holders Kilmallock and favourites Na Piarsaigh have secured semi-final places, and await winners from quarter-final ties involving Doon/Kildimo-Pallaskenry (KP) and Patrickswell/South Liberties, both fixed for Kilmallock’s Fitzgerald Park in a fortnight’s time.
In Group One, Ahane – for whom Tom Morrissey again scored for fun – almost pulled off the shock of the century but in the end had to settle for a top-flight preserving 1-22 draw with hotshots Na Piarsaigh at Kilmallock.
Elsewhere, Pat Ryan ‘Simon’ levelled at the death for Doon against Kilmallock in Fedamore, with the latter advancing a step further due to a superior scoring advantage.
In Askeaton, Patrickswell swooped late to overcome plucky Adare. It was a contest in which Hurler of the Year in-waiting Diarmaid Byrnes was truly magnificent for the ‘Well.
In Group Two, All-Star Kyle Hayes captained Kildimo-Pallaskenry have been a revelation and cemented their top berth in the lower section with a massive haul of 14 points from Shaun Barry helping Natal O’Grady’s team to their four point win (0-23 to 0-19) against Garryspillane in Caherconlish.
Not since Ahane completed a five-in-a-row (1937) have KP reached the business end of a championship to which they only returned to in recent times.
KP will also now compete with the elite in 2023, replacing Adare.
Twice beaten South Liberties looked out of-the-running but bettered fancied Ballybrown, 3-18 to 1-20 to progress, results elsewhere also proved favourable.
A couple of goals from Tom Ryan coupled with the deadly-accuracy from frees by All-Star cousins Anthony (2012/’13) and Barry Nash (‘21) were amongst the highlights in Fedamore for Liberties, who are now a step closer to winning their first title in over 40 years.
By virtue of their 3rd/4th place finishes in Group Two, Ballybrown and Mungret/St Paul’s will contest the Senior Cup Final. Blackrock, who earned a merited final round draw with Mungret, have been relegated.
Nick Grene Sports Maintenance IHC quarter-final draw: Bruree v Pallasgreen and Croom v Granagh/Ballingarry, with Croagh/Kilfinny and Na Piarsaigh (favourites) into the semi-finals.
Woodlands House Hotel JHC quarter-final draw: Doon v Patrickswell, Crecora/Manister v Kileedy, Kilteely/Dromkeen v St. Kieran’s (favourites) and Castletown/Ballyagran v Dromcollogher/Broadford.
Intermediate Camogie semi-finals: Adare v Monaleen and Croagh/Kilfinny v Templeglantine/Knockaderry.
The quarter-final pairings in the Lyons of Limerick Premier IHC will be known after the last round of regular fixtures this weekend.