THE Limerick senior hurling championship commenced last weekend with six opening round group games.
There were wins for Kilmallock, Na Piarsaigh, Patrickswell, South Liberties and Bruff, while Ballybrown and Adare drew.
LeaderSport selects it’s Team of the Week on the back of performances in just the club games.
1. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)
Two top class saves from Hennessy in the champions win over Ahane. A very timely display from Hennessy, who is battling with Aaron Murphy to replace the injured Nickie Quaid in the Limerick team to play Clare in the Munster SHC. Also saved a one-on-one penalty from John Meskell, who it was ordered to be retaken adn he was beaten second time round.
2. Mark Buckley (Na Piarsaigh)
One of the U-21 contingent in the Na Piarsaigh line-up and he was solid in the No2 jersey with the majority of the Doon scores coming from further out the field. Buckley was in the Light Blues full back line, alongside his brother Niall.
3. Conor McSweeney (South Liberties)
The teenager is full back on the Limerick minor hurling team at present but actually played at centre back in South Liberties win over Murroe-Boher. Liberties were missing injured centre back Shane O’Neill, who McSweeney filled the role perfectly in their vital round one victory.
4. Aaron Costello (Kilmallock)
Continued his top form of last season into the new campaign. Has matured into a pacy, tight marking corner back under Ger O’Loughlin and against Ahane he was a key member of the full back line, that was missing Mark O’Loughlin at full back. John Fox looked lively for Ahane but Costello grew into the game as Kilmallock did.
5. Ross Griffin (Ballybrown)
Many may have thought that the switch of Barry Foley to full back for Patrickswell was noteworthy but the display of Griffin in the half back line for Ballybrown proved just as effective. Especially in the opening half he helped drive Ballybrown towards a 0-10 to 0-4 interval lead.
6. Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
At club level Byrnes has developed into a vital component for Patrickswell. Good in the air, he also swept across a strong half back line that includes Seanie O’Brien and Mark Carmody. This is a trio that Ciaran Carey could be laying his foundation for the season.
7. Mike Foley (Na Piarsaigh)
Foley was a late addition to the Na Piarsaigh team in place of the injured Aidan Hennessy and he certainly took his chance. In horrible conditions it was a day to roll up the sleeves and win primary possession and that’s what Foley did time after time at left half back.
8. Cian Lynch (Patrickwell)
Just like at inter-county U-21 level last season Patrickswell manager Ciaran Carey handed his nephew a midfield role. Lynch sparkled up and down the field, continually bringing his attackers into play with pin-point deliveries.
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)
O’Donovan wore the no9 jersey but spent much time at centre forward. Doon were on the back foot for much of the opening half but O’Donovan kept plugging away. Landed a great point from a lineball in the second half, fired over another from play and then stepped up in the final minutes to blast to the net from a close range free.
10. Seanie Tobin (Murroe-Boher)
Can’t argue with his scoring return for Murroe-Boher over the past number of seasons. If anything they rely too much on their inter-county man. Finished with a tally of 0-10 from frees and from play.
11. Alan O’Connor (Ballybrown)
It was O’Connor’s expertise from placed balls that set Ballybrown in motion. Such is his consistency that it gives the Clarina men a huge foundation if others can raise their game around him and that’s what happened for three quarters of their tie against Adare.
12. Brian Ryan (South Liberties)
The county minor player is only back from injury but proved the match winner for his side against Murroe-Boher. He scored two goals in the first half and then in the final minutes held his nerve to point the winning free, 2-12 to 1-14.
13. Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell)
Sparkled earlier in the year for the University of Limerick in the Fitzgibbon Cup and looks to have continued his scoring form into the club championship. While The Well were 23-point winners over Effin, O’Brien took goals and points with aplomb.
14. John Cooke (Bruff)
There was little to separate Bruff and Croom in both encounters last season and it was always going to be the same in their round one game. Former Limerick senior footballers, Cooke proved the difference with his return of 1-4 from play from the no14 jersey for Bruff in their three point win.
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
The Kilmallock captain looked very sharp in their win over Ahane. When his side were in slight trouble, Mulcahy was in the right place at the right time to crash home two goals, one either side of half time to turn the tide in favour of his team.