THE Limerick Leader rankings are updated after there were more shocks in round two of the Limerick senior hurling championship.
Jerome O’Connell ranked the teams from 1-16 ahead of the championship and now updates those on the rise and those on the decline after the eight second round games last weekend.
1. Kilmallock (up one place)
There can be no denying that Tony Considine’s side are the form team and right now I don’t think there is any team in the county to beat them. But the Daly Cup won’t be presented this month and it’s a big task to maintain their current form until next October.
2. Na Piarsaigh (down one place)
The champions are stuttering through the group phase but it must be remembered that they had such a long season in 2011. They could yet time their return to top form to perfection when they quarter-finals take place at the end of August. Sean Stack’s side will need to have a full squad to select from.
3. Emmets (no change)
Only team guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals. They continue to amaze - no collective training, no challenge games and yet they go out and score 20-points to beat a Granagh-Ballingarry side that had defeated Adare in the previous round.
4. Murroe-Boher (no change)
Ger Hegarty’s side were swept aside by Kilmallock last weekend. Their response to the 16-point defeat could be the making or breaking of this side. Seamus Hickey should be back for the final round and quarter-final place is still very much alive.
5. Patrickswell (no change)
Brian Lohan’s side had some personnel and positional switches for round two and looked to have worked but still they only managed to secure a draw with Doon. Are one of only six unbeaten sides but will need another improvement to secure quarter-final place.
6. Croom (up four places)
Would the real Croom hurling team please stand up! Had good early season form, were terrible against Hospital-Herbertstown and then showed great potential when beating Libertes by 14-points. Next up is the champions and all eagerly await which Croom will show up!
7. Garryspillane (up five places)
The Bouncers remain unbeaten and are the surprise side sitting on top of Group Two. But they will know that they will probably need to get some sort of result to progress to the quarter-finals and the loss of Danny Hayes will hinder their attacking options as he emigrates.
8. Granagh-Ballinagarry (no change)
There was much focus on Granagh-Ballingarry after they beat Adare but unfortunately they didn’t build on that victory when losing to Emmets. Injuries to Thomas O’Donovan and Eoin Kennedy did not help and at least progression remain in their own hands with a win over neighbours Bruree sufficient to book a quarter-final.
9. Doon (up two places)
There had to be a response from Doon after disappointing when losing to Garryspillane in round one. Although only drawing with Patrickswell there was a much hunger and battling spirit about the performance and their forwards showed glimpses of their potential.
10. Effin (up three places)
The newcomers could very well be higher up the rankings but the fact remains that they are still without a win. But for me they have been one of the team’s of the championship so far and looked very much at home in this company. Victory over Doon would continue their remarkable story.
11. Adare (down four places)
It would be unheard of in recent times that Adare would fail to beat both Granagh-Ballingarry and Bruree in championship hurling. Of course Ger O’Loughlin’s team can still make it through to the play-offs but must beat Emmets, conscious that they could also face a relegation battle.
12. Ahane (down five places)
A real fall from grace for last season’s county finalists. They did bounce back from the opening round loss to Murroe-Boher to defeat Knockainey, but weren’t overly impressive. Next up is Kilmallock and only a shock of major proportions would see Ahane still involved in the business end.
13. South Liberties (down four places)
Drew with champions Na Piarsaigh in round one but couldn’t build on that against Croom. Never recovered from conceding a goal after 17-seconds and then lost David O’Neill to a serious leg injury. Still can progress but would need a big win over Hosp-Herb.
14. Bruree (up one place)
Showed great spirit to bounce back to first round loss to draw with none other than Adare. Mathematically still possible to qualify but will need to beat neighbours Granagh-Ballingarry.
15. Hospital-Herbertstown (down two places)
Lost to the champions by only five points but just one of their starting forwards scored from play and herein lies the problems for the men from the south. Need to beat Liberties in final round to avoid relegation battle.
16. Knockainey (no change)
The All-Blacks are now the only side in the championship without a point on the group league tables. There was improvement against Ahane, but next up is a Murroe-Boher side that need a win to book a quarter-final place.