A DATE with destiny beckons for Kilmallock on St Patrick’s Day when their side bids to become the first ever senior Limerick club to win the All-Ireland hurling final.
But before they grace the sod at Croker to take on the Kilkenny kingpins Ballyhale Shamrocks, the team will chase glory of an altogether different kind when they head to Limerick Greyhound Stadium for a fundraising night at the dogs.
“Ticket sales are going well. There are still tickets available. It’s a good family fun night,” commented Steven Connery, Kilmallock GAA club chairman.
As part of their endeavours to boost the training fund, the club has organised a night at the dogs on Saturday, February 21.
Fresh from their victory over County Down champions Portaferry in Mullingar on Saturday, the senior hurling team will be there on the night with the Daly Cup and the Munster Cup.
Tickets are available from any committee member. A €20 ticket allows entry for two adults and under 16s have free entry.
Also, one Kilmallock supporter is in with the chance to win the €1,000 buster prize on the night.
“We need support to make this event a success – our supporters, to date, have been like a 16th man and we are hugely grateful,” said Steven.
Looking ahead to March 17, the team, Steven said, are all in great form and priming themselves for the biggest day in their young sporting lives.
Kilmallock, Steven said, are well aware of the immense challenge that awaits them, in the form of the Kilkenny club champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks who lead the All-Ireland club roll of honour with five victories - their last win being in 2010. The current squad is a star-studded outfit boasting such intercounty, All-Ireland winning stars as Henry Shefflin, TJ Reid, Colin and Michael Fennelly and Joey Holden, along with former intercounty player James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick.
Paddy Power bookmakers have the Kilkenny champions as hot favourites at 1/2 with Kilmallock as outsiders at 2/1. A draw meanwhile, is at the tasty price of 9/1.
“The same as ourselves, Ballyhale Shamrocks are steeped in hurling. They have a lot of experience and most of their players would have played in Croke Park,” commented Steven.
“We thrive on that kind of an opposition. It would be great to win it.”
To play in GAA HQ on St Patrick’s Day, he said, is what every hurler aims for throughout their playing career.
“I won’t say it is exactly what we set out to do at the start of the year - you don’t think that far ahead at the start of the year, you think of the county final. To reach the final is a huge achievement -every club would swap with you in the morning if they got the chance.”
Since Kilmallock’s last All-Ireland final appearance in 1993, no other Limerick club has contested the club All-Ireland.
If they were to pull off a victory on March 17 they would be entering the annals as the first ever hurling club from Limerick to taste All-Ireland glory.
“There is a great bit of history in that,” said Steven.
For further details on the dog night contact Steven on 087-2998469, Tom on 087-9706742 or any committee member.