Monaleen bid for All-Ireland hurling honours

Conor Nicholas of Monaleen receives his man-of-the-match award from sponsor Adam Teskey from a previous fixture.

IN the absence of a Limerick National Hurling League tie at the weekend, there will be strong interest in the All-Ireland Junior B Championship Final between Monaleen and Drom and Inch (Tipperary) at St Ita’s Park in Raheenagh on Saturday (throw-in 1pm).

It’s a repeat of their earlier clash in the Munster Final, which Monaleen had won only to leak three goals to Paul Kennedy in as many of the closing minutes.

“That outcome was difficult to stomach,” admitted Monaleen selector Eamon O’Connell.

“We could easily have rolled over and left our season at that, but there was a burning ambition within this group to attempt and rectify the situation, and now we find ourselves with the chance in this weekend’s final.

“It’s great for this bunch of players to be associated with the build-up to such a big occasion, and full credit to Killeedy for hosting this Championship now for the best part of 20 years.”

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In the semi-final, Monaleen – courtesy of a helping of points from Max Ivory – eliminated Galway and Leinster champions Ballinalsoe. Drom and Inch qualified by virtue of an easy win over Leinster runners-up Birr, Offaly.

O’Connell and Niall Madden have talent at their disposal through Ivory, Cian O’Dwyer, Ben Hayes, Ben Murnane, Donal O’Duinn, Noely Clancy, Conor Nichollas, and Dara Clifford. The side is captained by the ever-green Damien Cosgrave at full-back.

Opponents have plenty of stars too, such as goal-poacher Kennedy, Micheál Butler, Joey Maher, Kevin Butler, Jack Johnson, Enda Walsh, and Jamie Ryan.

It what is likely to be a fiercely contested decider, youthful Monlaeen are well capable of landing The Killeedy Perpetual Cup.

Doon are the only Limerick Club to have won the Championship (2014).

Wicklow’s John Keenan will referee the final. He also officiated Limerick against Kilkenny in last summer’s All-Ireland show-piece at Croke Park.