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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Final Four
Sarsfields, Cratloe, Kilmallock and Thurles Sars go under Munster hurling spotlight
The last four of the Munster club hurling championship is down for decision this weekend.

Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

MOTIVATION WON’T BE lacking in Kilmallock or Ennis on Sunday afternoon.

The AIB Munster senior hurling club semi-finals are pencilled in for the Limerick and Clare venues, and there is a heightened sense of ambition amongst the last four participants.

Thurles Sarsfields are coming down off the high of last Sunday’s Tipperary senior title. They reigned supreme in Munster two years ago but the failure to go on and win an All-Ireland – they lost a February 2013 semi-final to Offaly’s Kilcormac-Killoughey – will certainly grate.

Tadgh Og Murphy lifts the cup Tommy Grealy / INPHO Sarsfields celebrate their recent Cork county final victory. Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

For Cratloe, their opponents on Sunday, this is new territory as they have never participated in a Munster club hurling decider. Cork’s Sarsfields are in a similar boat, having not experienced provincial final day. Limerick’s Kilmallock may have lifted the trophy twice but it’s 20 years since they achieved that and none of their current players have Munster club medals to their name.

Paudie and Fiadh O'Brien celebrate after the game Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Paudie and Fiadh O'Brien after Kilmallock's recent county final win. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

It’s not like the teams don’t have recent experience of the provincial scene though:

  • Cratloe – In 2009 Cratloe won their first Clare SHC title but lost a semi-final to Waterford’s Ballygunner. This is their first time since to have returned to the Munster hurling scene but they contested last year’s Munster SFC final and are in a semi-final on Sunday week against Waterford’s The Nire.
  • Kilmallock - In 2010, Kilmallock won their first Limerick senior hurling crown in 16 years. They did win their Munster opener that year against Crusheen but lost to Thurles Sars by five points in the semi-final. Two years later Kilmallock were back in Munster but were defeated again by Thurles Sars, this time in the first round by three points.
  • Sarsfields - In 2008, Sarsfields bridged a 51-year gap as they won their Cork senior title but after beating Clare’s Clonlara they lost to Waterford’s De La Salle.  Two years later they lost out at the same stage to De La Salle and in 2012, they were defeated by Thurles Sarsfields.
  • Thurles Sarsfields - The Tipperary champions lost their 2009 opener to Newtownshandrum. A year later they bounced back to defeat Kilmallock before being toppled by De La Salle in the final. In 2012 Thurles Sarsfields finally collected a provincial crown with successes over Kilmallock, Sarsfields, and De La Salle.

Conor Ryan, Cathal McInerney and David Collins celebrate James Crombie / INPHO Conor Ryan, Cathal McInerney and David Collins after Cratloe's county final win. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

There’s plenty of current inter county senior stars to keep an eye on amongst the four teams as well.

- Cratloe: Conor Ryan, Liam Markham, Padraic Collins, Sean Collins, Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath.

- Kilmallock: Gavin O’Mahony, Paudie O’Brien and Graeme Mulcahy

- Sarsfields: Conor O’Sullivan, Eanna Martin, Daniel Kearney and Cian McCarthy.

- Thurles Sarsfields: Michael Cahill, Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher, Denis Maher and Lar Corbett.

Denis Maher and Michael Cahill celebrate winning Morgan Treacy / INPHO Denis Maher and Michael Cahill celebrate winning the Tipperary county final last weekend. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Here’s the fixture details for this weekend in Munster and the other provincial hurling games down for decision.

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SATURDAY

Connacht
JHC final
Annaghdown (Galway) v Calry/St Joseph’s (Sligo), Venue TBC, 2pm

Galway
IHC final
Ahascragh/Fohenagh v Cappataggle, Ballinasloe, 2.30pm

Leinster
IHC semi-final
Ballinakill (Laois) v Kiltale (Meath), Portlaoise, 2pm

JHC quarter-final
Crossabeg/Ballymurn (Wexford) v Moorefield (Kildare), Enniscorthy, 2pm
Shamrocks (Offaly) v Carlow Town (Carlow), Tullamore, 2pm

SUNDAY

Connacht
IHC final
Ahascragh-Fohenagh/Cappataggle (Galway) v Ballyhaunis (Mayo), Athleague, 2pm

Munster
SHC semi-finals
Kilmallock (Limerick) v Sarsfields (Cork), Kilmallock, 2pm
Cratloe (Clare) v Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary), Cusack Park, Ennis, 2pm

IHC semi-finals
Lixnaw (Kerry) v Bruff (Limerick), Kerry venue, 2pm
Feakle (Clare) v Cappoquin (Waterford), Sixmilebridge, 2pm

Leinster
JHC quarter-final
St Brigid’s (Westmeath) v Knockbridge (Louth), Rochfortbridge, 2pm

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