Familiar faces fill the line-up for the semi-finals of the Limerick SHC, which will be contested by four of the last five teams to claim the title.
In Bruff on Saturday, 2010 champions Kilmallock lived up to their joint-favourites tag with an emphatic 1-19 to 0-9 win over Croom, who managed just three scores from play over the hour.
County corner-forward Graeme Mulcahy provided the turning point with the game’s only goal on the three-quarter mark as the Maiguesiders, who had held the margin to four points up to that stage, began to feel the effects of losing Conor Laffan to a red card just minutes before.
The winners laid the foundations of their victory when overturning an early two-point deficit to lead 0-11 to 0-6 at the break and cemented it with a closing flourish as they racked up 1-6 without reply.
Kilmallock’s semi-final opponents will be the other leading fancy, Na Piarsaigh, who easily accounted for Ahane, 5-14 to 0-14, in a low-key second part of yesterday’s double-header at the Gaelic Grounds.
Adrian Breen’s goal midway through the first half sent them on their way and, although an Ahane rally had shaved the deficit to 1-8 to 0-7 at the break, any hope of an upset disappeared when the Castleconnell side conceded a soft goal at the beginning of the second half.
The first act at the Gaelic Grounds saw neighbours Adare and Patrickswell meet in what proved to be the most entertaining tie of the weekend. The Maiguesiders, three-in-a-row winners between 2007 and 2009, produced a late flourish after their county star Declan Hannon was red-carded with ten minutes to go, to end the Well’s season by a nail-biting 0-15 to 1-11.
Although they dominated early on to score the opening four points, their lead was pulled back to 0-10 to 0-8 at the break and Patrickswell threatened to take over when Kevin O’Brien goaled and Pat Howard pointed on the restart. However, closing scores from Wayne McNamara and Willie Griffin pushed Adare over the line.
The final clash to decide Adare’s opponents turned out to be equally tight in Kilmallock yesterday evening. South Division representative side Emmets looked to have done the donkey work when they went into the break level with Garryspillane at 0-9 despite playing into a stiff breeze,
However, the effects of a heavy weekend that saw almost all of their line-up in intermediate championship action caught up with them after the break and the Bouncers took their opportunity when Declan Barry’s shot trickled over the line for the game’s only goal with ten minutes remaining. Emmets had one final chance right at the death but former county star Donie Ryan came back from the attack to block Paudie Leahy’s goalbound shot and Garryspillane survived on 1-14 to 0-16 scoreline.
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