Kinsale must plan without star player John Murphy for tomorrow’s Munster AIG Barton Shield semi-final in Tramore. Mullingar Scratch Cup winner Murphy has returned to college at the University of Louisiana but Kinsale still look to have a squad capable of retaining their Munster title.
The Gary Ward and Keith Fitzpatrick pairing will lead them into battle against Limerick tomorrow while Cathal Butler, who has impressed in various championships this year, partners Robbie Walsh Junior in the other pairing.
Limerick will present a tough challenge, their confidence boosted by the knowledge that in 1976, a team containing famous internationals in Vincent Nevin and Jackie Harrington completed the Irish Senior Cup-Barton Shield double over the excellent Tramore lay-out.
A different double awaits this weekend for Limerick. After the Barton Shield activity, they turn attentions on Sunday to the Senior Cup as they face Thurles, as Tralee take on Bandon. The Limerick squad balances youth represented by Patrick Naughton and Ciaran Vaughan and the experience of Justin Kehoe and Michael O’Kelly.
The presence of Bandon at this advanced stage has revived memories of 2010 when they went all the way against the odds before defeating Lurgan in the final at Castlebar. Kieran Hurley, David McCarthy, and Dwayne Twomey are survivors of that history-making side, with considerable confidence in the camp that the experience of that triumph can lead to further glory this weekend.
The third title at stake is the Irish Junior Cup on Saturday, with two West Limerick clubs, Adare Manor and Newcastle West, involved in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Adare captured the Irish Pierce Purcell Shield in Kilkenny in 1985. Such honours have eluded Newcastle. Adare meet host club Tramore, winners of the trophy over their own course in 1984, and East Cork.