KILDIMO-PALLASKENRY bid for a rare Limerick Munster football championship title this Sunday.
But in this Knockaderry-run Munster junior B football tournament, the Kerry representatives have won the last seven titles and on Sunday the Limerick champions face the home club of the legendary Mick O’Connell - Valentia Young Islanders.
The clash of Kildimo-Pallaskenry and Valentia takes place in Knockaderry at 2.00.
Blackrock, Granagh-Ballingarry and Dromcollogher-Broadford have all played in this provincial final and all have suffered defeat to Kerry opposition.
However, Kildimo-Pallaskenry contest the final on the back of beating the Cork and Tipperary champions.
That’s not to mention their Limerick JAFL and JBFC successes.
They are captained by full back Stephen Hodnett, who attempts to join a very select group of Limerick men, like John Galvin and Tom McLoughlin, to lift Munster championship silverware for Limerick teams.
“Kerry have won every club title in Munster from senior down and we would love to be the club to take one away from them,” said Hodnett this Tuesday.
Kildimo-Pallaskenry players and management saw the Valentia semi-final win over Cratloe.
“They are strong but we are totally focused on ourselves and getting our own gameplan right and not talking about them.”
Kildimo-Pallaskenry are led by two members of John Brudair’s Limerick senior football panel - Tony McCarthy at centre back and Peter Nash at centre forward.
“It’s unheard of for a junior B club to have two on a county senior panel. They are brilliant and it’s great for all our young players to have them to look up to and see what it’s possible to be a county player from a junior club,” outlined Hodnett, a Ballybrown based primary school teacher.
He added: “We have Darren O’Connell and Sean Holland on the Limerick minor panel as well”.
“Overall it is such a young panel. I think Simon Guerin is the oldest in his late 20s. It’s a great sign of the club to have some young players coming through.”
After beating Ballybricken-Bohermore to win the Limerick championship, the captain said that attention quickly turned to Munster.
“We were saying that we could accept that our season was over or take Munster serious - I think everyone really wanted to see how we would get on,” recalled Hodnett.
First up were Cork champions Castlelyons.
“That was massive to beat them. I don’t think any Limerick side had previously beaten a Cork team in this Munster junior B championship. That win showed us that we can beat anybody. We always knew what we were capable of but that Cork game gave us huge confidence,” said Hodnett of a Kildimo-Pallaskenry team that is managed by Darren O’Shea and Noel McCarthy.
A Munster semi-final win over the Tipperary champions secured Sunday’s provincial final spot.
“Everyone knows how important this is. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a Munster title.”
The Limerick side returned to training on January 3 after a Christmas break. They have trained in the field in Pallaskenry and astro-turf facility in Kilcornan and completed their preparations with a challenge game against Ballysteen last weekend.
“Everyone is really looking forward to this and in good form. The aim was to win the county and while this could be bonus territory we don’t just want to make up the numbers.”