Club kingpins clash in round one of Limerick SHC

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Limerick GAA chairman Oliver Mann with Sean and Lisa Mullally from new sponsors Q3 Security Systems at the launch of the Limerick SHC in the Gaelic Grounds this Monday
CLUB hurling kingpins Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock clash in round one of the new-look Limerick SHC this Sunday.

CLUB hurling kingpins Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock clash in round one of the new-look Limerick SHC this Sunday.

The duo have shared the last four county championships and are once again short-prices to lift the title next October.

Champions Na Piarsaigh are currently the 15/8 favourites to retain their crown ahead of this weekend’s six first round ties.

The new-look championship, with a reduced 12 competitors, guarantees all clubs five round robin games.

While Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock will be favoured to advance to the knockout stages both will be anxious to lay down early markers, especially with both under new managements.

With Sean Stack and Tony Considine departing the respective clubs, both have again looked to county Clare.

While Na Piarsaigh have appointed former club and Limerick hurler Shane O’Neill as their manager they do have former Clare and Offaly coach in their backroom team in an advisory role.

Kilmallock meanwhile, have replaced former Clare manager Considine with another former Clare manager Ger O’Loughlin.

Sunday’s eagerly awaiting game, in Bruff at 7pm, will see one third of the Limerick senior hurling panel in opposition.

Na Piarsaigh will have Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes, Cathal King and Alan Dempsey in their team but David Breen’s participation remains unclear. He underwent knee surgery in late February and had targeted the club championship as his return date to prove his fitness ahead of Limerick’s June 1 clash with Tipperary.

Opponents Kilmallock also have five inter-county men - Gavin O’Mahony, Paudie O’Brien, Graeme Mulcahy, Barry Hennessy and Philip O’Loughlin.

The championship starts on Friday when South Liberties play Effin in Caherconlish.

As well as the Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock game the only other tie on Sunday will see Patrickswell play Ahane in Bruff at 2pm. The duo have 37 titles between them but are without success in the past 10 years.

There are three games on Saturday at 7pm - Adare play Doon in Kilmallock, Ballybrown face Granagh-Ballingarry in Rathkeale and Murroe-Boher play Knockainey in Bruff.