Rivals: Richie English, Doon and Shane Dowling, Na Piarsaigh; key players in the Limerick SHC semi final
THE live television cameras of eir Sport are back in Limerick for more club hurling action this Saturday with the hunt for the Daly Cup down to five clubs.
Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds hosts the first of the semi finals and a quarter final replay in the Credit Union Limerick SHC.
The revised fixture list has the second semi final on Saturday October 30 with the final set for Sunday October 15 in the Gaelic Grounds.
Ahead of the weekend games, the bookies have Na Piarsaigh as 5/6 favourites to win their fourth title in seven years. Kilmallock are second favourites at 3/1 and champions Patrickswell are 5/1 to retain their title. Doon are 11/2 and Ballybrown 25/1.
Doon v Na Piarsaigh
Saturday September 23 in the Gaelic Grounds at 3.00
What a prospect this is – Na Piarsaigh bidding to reach a fifth final in six years, Doon bidding to reach just a third ever final and a first since 2000.
It may be the quarter final of 2011 since these sides met in the knockout stages of the Limerick SHC, but are keen rivals at underage – Na Piarsaigh beating Doon in four finals as they amassed six-in-a-row of U-21 titles and Doon beating the city men in two minor finals in the last five years.
Then of course there is last year – Doon helping to dethrone the All Ireland champions with a 2-18 to 1-19 win in round two of the group stages.
Doon, back in the semi final for the first time since 2014, arrive in the Gaelic Grounds fresh from an impressive quarter final win over Adare and a final round group game defeat of Ballybrown.
On the other hand, Na Piarsaigh had no quarter final and a 30-point win in the final group game and will be wary of recent semi finals where group winners have struggled for form.
The Caherdavin men have used 22 players already this season and on Saturday will be without Ronan Lynch and Kieran Kennedy (both abroad for a wedding) and Conor Boylan (broken hand) but could welcome back William O’Donoghue.
Prediction: Na Piarsaigh
Quarter final replay
Ballybrown v Patrickswell
Saturday September 23 in the Gaelic Grounds at 4.45
Only time will tell if Ballybrown missed their chance to dethrone the champions.
For long stages of the second half last Saturday, the Clarina men looked on course to overturn the 19-point defeat in last year’s county final but like all champions Patrickswell called on their experience to find a way back into a contest.
Gary Kirby’s side started without Cian Lynch, still struggling with the injury that hampered him in the All Ireland U-21 final and also 2016 winning captain Thomas O’Brien, who is now based abroad.
The Well looked off the pace and were probably not helped by one-sided group games – their final three group games resulted in 26, 19 and 16 point winning margins.
With that in mind, the drawn game should stand to Patrickswell as they bid to book a semi final spot with Kilmallock.
Ballybrown's task is simple - more of the same but for 60+ minutes.