Limerick IHC - Neighbours Ballybrown and Mungret meet in semi-final

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

Neighbours Ballybrown and Mungret renew their rivalaries in Saturday’s semi-final of the Limerick IHC.

Neighbours Ballybrown and Mungret renew their rivalaries in Saturday’s semi-final of the Limerick IHC.

CHhampionship meetings between these N69 neighbours have been scarce and that in itself would make Saturday’s tie (in KIlmallock at 4.30) eagerly awaited.

Add in that a place in the Griffin Coaches sponsored county intermediate hurling championship final is at stake and the game gets very interesting.

And, with all favouring Ballybrown to progress, Mungret would love nothing better than to lower the colours of their rivals.

It is back in 2008 since they met in the county championship and on that occasion it was Mungret that emerged 2-16 to 1-12 winners.

The sides met this April in the City Intermediate championship, when Ballybrown were 2-11 to 0-15 winners but that will matter little on Saturday.

Ballybrown are bidding to reach a third Limerick IHC final in four years.

Indeed they eventual champions have knocked them out in each of the last three years.

Mungret for their part arrive in the last four somewhat under the radar.

They were County Cup champions last year but in the two years prior to that it was relegation that occupied their minds.

Their last visit to the semi-final was in 2008 when they lost to eventual champions, Bruff.

Bidding to return to the final, Ballybrown changed their management this season.

Christy Keyes is manager with an impressive back room team that includes Clem Smith as coach and Dave Mahedy as trainer. Selectors; Paul O’Connor and Joe O’Connor complete their management team.

Captained by Des Kenny they have advanced as group runners-up to Dromin-Athlacca.

Indeed the tough nature of their group this season helped to focus the minds early and the sight of their near neighbours in the semi-final should also ensure nothing is taken for granted.

Mungret have Mike Fitzgerald as manager with Pat Belgey as selector. Adare’s Vinny Foley coaches the side.

They finished second to Cappamore in their group but then beat Blackrock in their quarter-final.

As underdogs they will have nothing to loose on Saturday.

Brian Begley has come up trumps with some vital goals this season and his tussle with James Kennedy could be key.

Ballybrown have reshaped their team this season and Saturday will be the greatest challenge to a side that is outside the senior ranks since 2006.

Mungret will look to Pat and Brian Belgey, Diarmuid Dee, the Giltenane brothers and Dave Bulfin to see them through. Key for Ballybrown are Alan O’Connor, the Loftus brothers, Brian Griffin and Richie Kenny.

Prediction - Ballybrown