KILMALLOCK hosts a double-header of county intermediate hurling championship finals this Saturday afternoon.
Bruree and Knockainey meet in the Premier IHC final at 2.00 with Cappamore playing Feohanagh in the IHC final at 3.45.
LIMERICK PREMIER IHC FINAL
Bruree v Knockainey
Date: Saturday, October 24
SOUTHERN bragging rights will be on offer in this keenly awaited final.
Both sides may have ensured promotion already but silverware and a Munster club semi final spot are most valuable prizes on offer.
Knockainey finished top of the eight team group at the end of the round-robin stage. However, Bruree did defeat the All Blacks in August, a result Bruree manager Steve McDonogh knows will be difficult to replicate.
“Knockainey are waiting, sitting pretty, they have had no game for the last two weeks so another huge challenge (awaits).”
Despite being guaranteed promotion McDonogh is still determined to get the right result on Saturday.
“I think when you get to a final you need to win a final. I think it would take from it a small bit if we can’t win it,” the Bruree boss admitted.
McDonogh is not sure that two should be promoted.
“You saw this year, Croom came down straight away and Bruff hung on so it is a big jump. The likes of the Doons and Na Piarsaighs are serious teams, (as are) Patrickswell, Kilmallock and Adare, we are a long, long way behind them,” said McDonogh.
“I firmly believe it should only be the winner of the competition that goes up, that’s just a personal opinion, but look, we are there.”
It has been a long campaign for the 2006 senior champions, one which started six months ago with an eight point over their semi-final opponents. A mid-season slump saw Bruree go three games without a win but McDonogh insists this didn’t bother him.
“That was always going to happen,” he said. “When you start on April 10 you’re not going to keep going.”
Knockainey are managed by Patrickswell’s Natal O’Grady, with Michael Ryan and Donnacha O’Brien as selectors.
Dermot Walsh is captain.
“It’s a big chance for silverware. There aren’t too many county titles in Knockainey. They beat us already so hopefully we can get a bit of revenge on Saturday but it is always tough to beat Bruree in any game,” said Walsh.
“There are a lot of teams that went down and it took them a lot of years to get back up. We pulled together and at the start of the year our main aim was to get back up senior and playing against the best team so its great to be back up senior at the first go.”
“We won the intermediate in 2001 and we have four or five still knocking around and that experience is great but there are others who have no county medal,” said Walsh.
Saturday’s winner will play in Munster on November 8 against Wolfe Tones (Clare) or Kilmoyley (Kerry).
LIMERICK IHC FINAL
Feohanagh v Cappamore
Date: Saturday, October 24
AN UNEXPECTED pairing will contest the IHC final.
Both sides finished third in their respective groups but have peaked at the right time to get through the knock-out stages and reach the title decider. As with the Premier IHC, both finalists have already secured promotion.
Having won last year’s JHC after defeating Na Piarsaigh in a replayed final, Feohangh manager John Kenny is happy that his side have kept momentum going by getting back-to-back promotions.
“It’s brilliant to get a win (over Glenroe in the semi-final) and go up Premier Intermediate because that’s where we want to be. I think it’s good for these young fellas to play at a higher grade of hurling so it’s brilliant for the club,” Kenny said.
The last time the sides met in championship was the 2011 JHC quarter-final where eventual champions Cappamore won by a point 1-11 to 2-7. Kenny is expecting another close encounter when the sides meet.
“We had a few tough games with them four or five years ago in the junior, I’m sure they have come on a good bit but so have we. Look, it’s a game and I think it will go down to the wire to be honest.”
Since their promotion in 2011, Cappamore have made four consecutive IHC quarter-finals. However, it wasn’t until this year’s replay victory over Kildimo-Pallaskenry that the east side have reached the last four.
The side are managed by Liam Hammersley, who played senior hurling for the club. Hammersley, who is also club secretary, said that a heavy defeat to Mungret in round one was motivation.
“We said all year that in the first round, we never performed, we let ourselves down” he admitted.
The sides met again in the semi-final, where Cappamore’s unexpected win secured promotion.
“We were up for the challenge,” Hammersley said. “We were confidant we would perform better (than in the group).”
A big feature of Cappamore’s run in the knock-out stages has been their strong finishes.
“We worked big on fitness this year,” he said. “Mungret beat us in the quarter-final last year and I felt we fell flat in the last 10 minutes,” said the Cappamore man.