A Munster IHC final spot against Tipperary’s Silvermines on Sunday November 18 is the carrot for Ballybrown this Saturday.
Standing between Ballybrown and a final spot is Ballyduff. The sides clash this Saturday (2.00) in Kilmallock in the Munster club IHC semi-final.
The three-in-a-row Kerry senior champions are managed by Patrickswell’s PJ O’Grady.
Incidentally in their eight game of the campaign it will be the third Patrickswell led opposition that the Clarina men have faced - Gary Kirby (Bruff) and Natal O’Grady (Knockaderry).
“I am sure he knows us just as well as any Ballybrown man - any Patrickswell man will know what he is up against with us,” smiled Ballybrown sharp-shooter Alan O’Connor.
“We are not going into that with our eyes closed - we know that Ballyduff will be tough. They are there year in year out down in Kerry and we won’t be under any illusion of what we are up against,” said O’Connor.
Last year Effin beat Ballyduff in the Munster final, 0-14 to 0-11.
“It’s going to be though but we will prepare the same as we did for Ballinhassig. The appetite is definitely there - this is a hungry bunch of lads,” said O’Connor.
There is no doubting that his side look a team free from the pressure that has blighted their progress in the county intermediate championship in recent years.
“It’s like the shackles were lifted at the final whistle in the county final - it was like a weight was lifted,” accepted Ballybrown top scorer Alan O’Connor.
He added: “As soon as we got out of it, it felt like a weight had been lifted”.
“We were seven years intermediate - maybe at the start we were a bit naive and thought we were going straight back up. That championship is tough and we have a lot of respect for the teams we played against,” explained O’Connor.
“People might have felt that this time of the year wouldn’t suit us because we are not that big a team and we like the hard ground but the guys fought it out,” he said.
It’s back to Kilmallock on Saturday for the provincial semi-final.
“We are thinking of changing to here - we would come back here every day,” laughed O’Connor of the venue where they have won on their last three visits.
“We will roll on and we are now looking towards a Munster championship.”