Key games to decide Limerick SHC line-up

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Effin's John Dillon in action against Kilmallock in an earlier round of the Limerick SHC
THE line-up for the knockout stages of the Q3 Security sponsored Limerick SHC will be finalised this weekend.

THE line-up for the knockout stages of the Q3 Security sponsored Limerick SHC will be finalised this weekend.

Knockout places at the business end of the club championship will be the prize with games this Friday and Saturday.

Na Piarsaigh and Doon are already guaranteed semi-final spots ahead of the weekend.

Also confirmed is that Ahane and Kilmallock will advance to the quarter-finals.

That leaves six clubs battling for the remaining two quarter-finals spots.

Three of that six are also battling to avoid relegation.

Knockainey are already confirmed to make the drop to the Premier Intermediate ranks in 2015, but the new structures see the bottom team in each group relegated and both finalists in the Premier IHC promoted.

Adare and Patrickswell meet in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday at 4.30 with the winner into the quarter-finals.

The permutations for the remaining quarter-final place are varied.

Ahane are awaiting in the quarter-final but their opponents could be any one of four clubs - South Liberties, Ballybrown, Granagh-Ballingarry or Effin.

Relegation will also be on the minds of Ballybrown, Granagh-Ballingarry and Effin with one of the trio losing senior status.

The quarter finals of the championship are scheduled for the weekend of September 20/21. The semi-finals are likely to take place on September 28 or October 4 with the final on the fixture list for Sunday October 19.

ADARE V PATRICKSWELL

Saturday, September 13 at 4.30

In the Gaelic Grounds

This is a straight winner takes all battle between these two neighbours.

The winner will finish in third place and advance to the quarter-finals against Kilmallock or perhaps South Liberties.

It’s been a championship without any consistency for both sides. Adare looked on course for progression in the previous round until a second half collapse saw they beaten by Ahane.

This is another chance for Shane Fitzgibbon’s side, who were beaten county finalists for the past two seasons.

Patrickswell meanwhile will be thankful of the chance to progress after poor form in the earlier rounds left them facing an uphill struggle

Prediction: Adare

GRANAGH-BALLINGARRY V EFFIN

Saturday, September 13 at 6.15

In Ballyagran

What a strange scenario that either of these sides could book a quarter-final spot against Ahane, be relegated or indeed just come to the end of their championship.

The West Limerick men know that a win for them and wins for Na Piarsaigh and Ballybrown in the other group games will complete a remarkable turnaround for them. And, to be fair their form has been reasonable. They just lost to the champions in the previous round and crucially beat South Liberties before that. If they are to prevail on Saturday, overcoming the presence of Nickie Quaid is key.

For Effin to advance to need to win and hope others results are favourable. If the south Limerick side loose, they will hope that Ballybrown also fail and therefore the Clarina men would face the drop.

Regardless of other results, if Granagh-Ballingarry lose, they would be relegated as they lost to Ballybrown in round one.

Prediction: Granagh-Ballingarry

NA PIARSAIGH V BALLYBROWN

Saturday, September 13 at 6.15

In the Gaelic Grounds

The champions have nothing to play for, while Ballybrown have absolutely everything to battle for.

Regardless of the result the Caherdavin men will be in the semi-final as table-toppers. But they will know the value of maintaining their unbeaten run ahead of the last four clash.

For Ballybrown, the first task is to battle for survival.

They simply must win to keep their own fate in their own hands. The Clarina men don’t fear Na Piarsaigh in the divisional championship but county championship is where the city side have set the bar. Ballybrown have been too reliant on the frees of Alan O’Connor and have scored just one goal in four outings so far. They will have to build up an early head of steam to derail the champions, who should be hitting top form with all finished with inter-county commitments.

Prediction: Na Piarsaigh

KILMALLOCK V SOUTH LIBERTIES

Saturday, September 13 ay 6.15

In Bruff

South Liberties are locked in a battle with Effin, Granagh-Ballingarry and Ballybrown for the right to play Ahane in the quarter-finals.

Unlike the other trio, Liberties don’t have to worry about relegation issues.

And, their quarter-final prospects are in their own hands - win or draw and they advance.

Indeed they could lose and still progress if results go their way.

Kilmallock are guaranteed a quarter-final spot, but if they lose they would fall from second place to third. A second place finish means a clash with Adare or Patrickswell, while a third place standing books a battle with Ahane. Ger O’Loughlin’s men to win

Prediction: Kilmallock

DOON V MURROE-BOHER

Friday, September 12 at 6.15

In Cappamore

The only game over the weekend that the outcome won’t change the final standings as Doon are already guaranteed a semi-final spot and a top of the table finish, while Murroe-Boher’s championship ends on Friday.

In a rare outing for the Cappamore GAA grounds, Doon will want to maintain their unbeaten run in what will be their final championship game before the semi-final while Murroe-Boher will want to gain some consolation after a season that promised well in the early stages before fizzling out.

Prediction: Doon