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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 14 August, 2020
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5 club hurling games to watch including big clashes in Kilkenny, Limerick and Cork

The club season is firmly up and running now.

Untitled collage (1) Conor Lehane, TJ Reid and Tom Morrissey have big games this weekend.

Cork

  • Friday: Midleton v Sarsfields, Pairc Ui Rinn, 7.30pm

The Cork SHC opens up on Friday night with a clash between Midleton and Sarsfields. The east Cork rivals both won county titles in the last decade, with Midleton prevailing in 2013 while Sarsfields were champions in 2014.

Midleton, whose key men include Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell, exited the championship in round 3 last season to eventual champions Imokilly. Sarsfields, with Jack O’Connor and Daniel Kearney in their ranks, were also knocked out by Imokilly – falling by 10 points in the quarter-finals.

Kilkenny

  • Friday: Ballyhale Shamrocks v Tullaroan, Nowlan Park, 7.30pm

The reigning All-Ireland senior champions will face off with the national intermediate winners on Friday night as Ballyhale Shamrocks and Tullaroan meet in the opening round of the Kilkenny SHC.

It’s the first game in charge of Ballyhale for Waterford native James O’Connor, who replaced Henry Shefflin back in February. With county stars like TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly in their ranks, Ballyhale will be strong favourites against newly-promoted Tullaroan who’ll be relying on Cats stars past and present Tommy and Padraig Walsh.

conor-mcdonald-celebrates-scoring Wexford forward Conor McDonald is in action. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Wexford

  • Saturday: Shelmaliers v Naomh Eanna, Bellefield, 2pm

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The second round of the Wexford SHC resumes this weekend and in Group D Naomh Eanna take on Shelmaliers in what should be an entertaining tie. Both sides enjoyed wins over Rapparees leaving them level on points, with the winners of this contest set to claim top spot in the group.

Naomh Eanna’s forward line includes Wexford players Conor McDonald and Cathal Dunbar, while Simon Donohoe, Brian Malone and Ross Banville are among Shelmaliers’ well-known players.

Limerick

  • Saturday: Na Piarsaigh v Ahane, LIT Gaelic Grounds, 7.30pm

Incredibly, favourites for the Limerick SHC title Na Piarsaigh are already in their last chance saloon as they take on Ahane, whose star men are Morrissey brothers Tom and Dan. A victory for Ahane will take them into at least the quarter-final while defeat for kingpins Na Piarsaigh would send them into a relegation play-off.

2018 champions Na Piarsaigh fell to Kilmallock in the opening round last weekend and will be hoping to get their campaign back on track on Saturday night. They’re without injured Shane Dowling but still boast a very strong squad with David Dempsey, William O’Donoghue, Peter Casey in the side.

Offaly 

  • Saturday: Birr v Kilcormac/Killoughey, Banagher, 7.30pm

The last two beaten finalists in the Offaly SHC will take on one another in the opening round of the 2020 competition. Birr lost last year’s decider to St Rynagh’s by a single point while Kilcormac/Killoughey fell to Coolderry by six points in 2018.

The rival clubs remain among the contenders for the Sean Robbins Cup but with Seir Kieran and Coolderry also in Group 1, victory on Saturday night is vital for their championship ambitions.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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