With Kilmallock crowned Limerick senior hurling champions, Jerome O’Connell reviews the 2012 club campaign.
The Limerick senior hurling clubs were ranked from 1-16 at the outset of the championship last May, now Jerome O’Connell updates the ratings for the final time. Also selected is a Team of the Championship, Player of the Championship and Young Player of the Championship.
1. Kilmallock (up 1 place)
Crowned champions for the 10th time and certainly the best team in the competition. Demonstrated how important motivation is with their determination to prove that they can build up success of 2010 and disappointment of last year. Produced some passages of outstanding hurling, with great first touches and outstanding support play.
2. Adare (up 3 places)
Can be thankful to Bruree for emerging from the group stages but then came to life. Have integrated a number of new players this season and reaching a county final was a real bonus in this regard and probably a year ahead of schedule. Have a strong foundation for next season and keeping Ger O’Loughlin will be key while their experienced players will also need to come back for another season.
3. Na Piarsaigh (down 2 places)
The 2011 champions never matched the heights of last year. Injuries didn’t help and also a number of key players looked tired as their title defence reached the knockout stages. Will come back renewed, and it appears Sean Stack will again be at the helm, and will be one of the teams to beat next season.
4. Garryspillane (up 11 places)
What a year for The Bouncers. Not in their wildest dreams could they have predicted a semi-final place for themselves. Played some outstanding hurling earlier in the year but didn’t maintain that form into the semi-final. Needed a good start in that game against Adare but found themselves over run.
5. Patrickswell (up 1 place)
Continue to push themselves into the knockout stages of the championship but still not the finished article. Year by year their underage talent is coming to the fore and when completed their new-look team will be contenders.
6. Ahane (down 2 places)
Were county finalists in 2010 but it was always going to be a tall order to repeat that. First year without retired club stalwart Ollie Moran and were the only side to beat Kilmallock in the championship.
7. Murroe-Boher (no change)
Among the dark horses for the championship for the last couple of years but can’t seem to make the break through. No doubt they would love to avoid eastern rivals Ahane in the 2013 championship! Won the County Cup but aspirations are greater than that.
8. Croom (up 1 place)
Just can’t find any consistency since reaching the 2007 final. Integrating some younger players now that may bring a fresh impetus for next season.
9. Emmets (down 6 places)
One of the big losers this season. Maintained their proud record of reaching the knockout stages but the life appears to be gone from the divisional experiment and they may not be present next season.
10. Doon (down 2 places)
Were in a group that they were capable of progressing from and didn’t manage to progress. Certainly need to be in the knockout stages in the coming seasons after their minor success and U-21 final appearance,
11. Bruree (down 1 place)
Put in place a top notch management team this year but it was the slow start to the campaign that cost them as they progressed to draw with Adare and beat Granagh-Ballingarry, Reached the County Cup final and perhaps can be the spring board for 2013.
12. South Liberties (no change)
Came oh so close to shocking the champions in round one but didn’t build on that. Third year in a row in the County Cup but at least they have consolidated their place in senior ranks.
13. Effin (up 3 places)
What a maiden voyage for Effin. Produced some outstanding performances and were so close to a quarter-final spot but ended up in relegation semi-final. Showed great battling qualities to copper-fasten their senior status.
14. Hospital-Herbertstown (down 1 place)
Repeating their quarter-final spot of 2011 was always going to be a big ask. When it mattered they were victorious to survive in the top ranks.
15. Knockainey (down 1 place)
For the second year in a row they survived at the final hurdle. Struggled to find scores all year but hit a hot streak to beat Granagh-Ballingarry in their only, but timely, win of the year.
16. Granagh-Ballingarry (down 5 places)
All they had to do was beat Bruree to book a quarter-final spot. They lost and never recovered and lost the next two games to fall into the intermediate ranks.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock)
What a year for the 23 year old. Cemented his place in the Limerick senior team and led his club to county glory. For Kilmallock O’Brien was Mr Consistency in midfield. As well as his ball winning ability and work rate, O’Brien also chipped in with 16-points from play over the course of their six games. The fact that Adare switched Wayne McNamara to try and nullify O’Brien, was testament to his influence in the Kilmallock side.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Robbie Egan (Kilmallock)
The 20 year old captained the Limerick U-21 side this year and will be underage again next season. In his first year playing senior club hurling Egan was very impressive. Looks more at home in midfield or centre back than at wing back. A joy to see him fetching puckouts from the sky.
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF THE YEAR
Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock
Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
Davy Ryan (Garryspillane)
Stephen Lavin (Adare)
Liam Walsh (Kilmallock
Wayne McNamara (Adare)
Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
Robbie Egan (Kilmallock)
Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock)
Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
Damien Moloney (Effin)
Eoin Ryan (Kilmallock)
Willie Griffin (Adare)
Donie Ryan (Garryspillane)
Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh)