CHAMPIONS Kilmallock are off to a winning start in their Limerick SHC title defence.
The Ger ‘Sparrow O’Loughlin managed champions opened the championship on Thursday night with a 2-14 to 1-13 win over Ahane in Caherconlish in Group One.
Just over six weeks after suffering defeat in Croke Park to Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All Ireland club final, Kilmallock had goals in either half from Graeme Mulcahy to power them to victory.
They actually trailed 0-7 to 0-3 after 21 minutes with free-taker John Meskell and John Fox on target for Ahane.
But then Kilmallock sprung to life and were level by half time, 1-5 to 0-8. Eoin Ryan hit four of their first half points and was to finished with 0-10 (7frees).
Mulcahy goaled in the second minutes of the second half and soon Kilmallock were 2-11 to 0-10 clear.
Ahane’s consolation goal came in the 57th minute when John Meskell scored a penalty.
On Friday night in Group One, there was an east Limerick derby in Cappamore where South Liberties were 2-12 to 1-14 winners over Murroe-Boher.
County minor Brian Ryan scored the winning point from a late free. He also helped himself to the two all-important Liberties’ goals.
The winners were 2-6 to 1-8 up at half time with Mikey Ryan getting the Murroe-Boher goal.
Seanie Tobin was to finish with 0-10 for Murroe-Boher but it was Brian Ryan’s 2-4 that proved vital for the winners.
On Sunday evening, Patrickswell were the biggest winners of round one with a 3-24 to 1-7 win over Effin in Bruff.
The Ciaran Carey managed side were 1-9 to 1-2 up by half time but ended up 23-point winners. A Thomas O’Brien goal had them 1-5 to 0-1 up midway though the opening half but a Thomas Quaid goal from a free hit back for Effin.
In the second half Kevin O’Brien had two goals for The Well.
In Group Two, champions of two years ago Na Piarsaigh opened with a 3-13 to 2-14 win over Doon in Kilmallock on Friday evening.
They were stung by a first minute Mike Fitzgerald goal for Doon but replied impressively to lead 1-8 to 1-1 after 18-minutes. The goal came from David Breen.
Five minutes into the second half David Sheppard added another goal and the city men were 2-10 to 1-7 clear.
Scores from Barry Murphy and Darragh O’Donovan helped reduce the deficit but then Breen hit home his second goal for a 3-10 to 1-10 lead in the 41st minute.
The second Doon goal came in injury time when O’Donovan scored from a free.
Adare are the only other side to have won the championship in the last eight years and they needed a late gasp point from John Fitzgibbon to draw with Ballybrown in Askeaton on Friday night. The final score was 0-14 each.
Ballybrown were 0-10 to 0-4 up at the break. They had Alan O’Connor in fine form and he finished with 0-9, while Willie Griffin’s 0-6 was central to the Adare fight back.
On Saturday afternoon in Kilmallock was a repeat of last year’s Premier IHC final and again Bruff emerged victorious. The final score was 1-13 to 1-10.
A John Cooke goal helped Bruff to a 1-7 to 1-5 interval lead. Peter Lawlor scored the Croom goal.
Cooke was to finish with 1-4 from play for the winners.
The next round of action in the top three tiers of club hurling in Limerick takes place on May 28-31.
LIMERICK SHC ROUND ONE RESULTS
Kilmallock 2-14 Ahane 1-13
South Liberties 2-12 Murroe-Boher 1-14
Na Piarsaigh 3-13 Doon 2-14
Ballybrown 0-14 Adare 0-14
Bruff 1-13 Croom 1-10
Patrickswell 3-24 Effin 1-7
LIMERICK PREMIER IHC ROUND TWO RESULTS
Knockainey 1-12 Pallasgreen 2-8
Bruree 1-20 Blackrock 0-16
Monaleen 2-15 Dromin-Athlacca 0-16
Garryspillane 2-13 Granagh-Ballingarry 1-5
LIMERICK IHC ROUND ONE RESULTS
St Kierans 1-11 Caherline 0-10
Feenagh-Kilmeedy 2-8 Knockaderry 2-8
Feohanagh 1-15 Claughaun 1-3
Glenroe 2-13 Kildimo-Pallaskenry 0-7
Newcastle West 1-7 Hospital-Herbertstown 1-6
Mungret 3-16 Cappamore 0-16
See the weekend print of the Limerick Leader for full match reports on all six Limerick SHC games and all four Premier Limerick IHC games as well as a round-up of the Limerick IHC.