SOME lively encounters are anticipated with the return of the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship over the next couple of weekends.
In Group One, Aaron Gillane skippered Patrickswell can move closer to the knock-out phase with an anticipated win over Ahane at Kilmallock’s Fitzgerald Park.
The ‘well stormed into Championship ‘23 with a defeat of champions Na Piarsaigh only to be caught by Doon in round two.
At the weekend, Patrickswell engaged in a competitive challenge outing with Offaly’s Shinrone at Puckane, near Nenagh (Tipperary). Afterwards, locals were thrilled that Gillane, Cian Lynch and Diarmaid Byrnes – all Hurlers of the Year (Gillane soon to be confirmed)- were so generous with their time to the avalanche of youngsters who arrived once word quickly spread of their presence through social media.
Elsewhere, Fintan O’Connor managed Kilmallock are fancied to preserve their unbeaten run at the expense of Kildimo/Pallaskenry at Newcastle West on Friday, 6.45pm. The Balbec, last winners only two years ago, have already swept aside both Doon and Ahane and unlikely to slip-up here with the possibility of a semi-final on offer.
On Saturday, Doon will need to produce their greatest performance of an age to better champions Na Piarsaigh at Bruff, 6.45pm. Mike Casey captained Na Piarsaigh, however, are minus influential William O’Donoghue, who is booted in an effort to aid recovery from a broken metatarsal bone in his foot. It’s unclear at what stage in the season that O’Donoghue will return to competitive action.
In the top tier, from which four sides qualify, round three wins are anticipated for Patrickswell, Kilmallock and Na Piarsaigh.
Two teams will emerge from Group Two, and there is a three-way tie at the helm involving Adare, Ballybrown and Mungret St. Paul’s.
Aidan O’Rahilly’s Adare are expected to beat Mungret (at Askeaton, Thursday 6.45pm), while Lorcan Lyons led Monaleen are tipped to overcome Garryspillane (at Caherconlish, Friday 6.45pm.) and Shane McGrath coached Ballybrown should have little bother from South Liberties (at Fedamore, Sunday 6pm).