HURLING: Great Clash In Prospect As Ballyduff And Abbeydorney Meet

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Abbeydorney's, David Egan, heads for goal with St Brendan's, Daniel Finnegan, looking on. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Abbeydorney’s David Egan, heads for goal during the match against St Brendan’s last month. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Mike O’Halloran looks ahead to the Garveys Supervalu SHC clash on Sunday between Ballyduff and Abbeydorney in Lixnaw at 2pm…

TRADITION has it that we have championship action on “the Sunday of the Festival” we are off to Lixnaw and Kilmoyley for the games to decide who will meet Lixnaw and Kilmoyley in the semifinals.

Ballyduff head across the Ballingar bridge to take on the men from Abbeydorney. Both of these teams had contrasting fortunes in the first round, Ballyduff went down tamely to Causeway in Kilmoyley, lost their main scoring threat Padraigh Boyle to injury and it looked unlikely that they would progress to a quarter-final.

Abbeydorney on the other hand had defeated one of the favourites, St Brendan’s, in the first round in Causeway and were spoken of as dark horses for the latter stages of the competition.

They went on to play Kilmoyley in the wind and rain in Ballyduff and were at the receiving end of a drubbing. Abbeydorney played into a strong wind in the first half and failed to score and when the wind was to their back in the second half, they made a very poor hand of getting the ball to men in scoring positions, preferring to strike long balls eleven of which went over the end line.

Story continued below… 

Ballyduff's Bobby O'Sullivan and Crotta's Adrian O'Mahony in action during the match on Tuesday night. Photo by Gavin O'Connor

Ballyduff’s Bobby O’Sullivan in action against Crotta earlier in the championship. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

Ballyduff faced Crotta in Lixnaw, with a lot of people of the opinion that Crotta would be too strong for a depleted Ballyduff and were it not for a free that went barely wide at the end of normal time Crotta would have progressed.

In extra time in that game, Gary O’Brien took the game by the scruff of the neck and drove Ballyduff into the quarter-final.

All the talk before the game on Sunday is of “the returnees”. The O’Leary brothers are back in the country and will certainly add huge weight to the O’Dorney challenge.

Ally O’Connor has returned to the Ballyduff training camp and his inclusion in the Cashen-siders line up will strengthen their challenge.

Story continued below… 

Aiden Healy, Kieran Dineen, Ivan McCarthy and Kieran Hannafin along with the O’Learys will have to bring the young guns Ronan Donovan and Stevie O’Sullivan into the game if they are to progress.

Ballyduff showed against Crotta that they are very hard to beat in the heat of championship and in Michael Boyle, Aiden Boyle and Gary O’Brien they have three of the best ball handlers in Kerry hurling.

The modern game of hurling is based on winning the ball in the air, transferring it to a player who can score and Ballyduff have the ability to do this.

Daniel Carroll and Eoin Ross came of age against Crotta and I’m sure that young Ross will be even better when he competes in only his third championship game on Sunday.

Now come the ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’. If Gary O’Brien can continue the man of the match form he showed against Crotta and if Bobby O’Sullivan can be as unerring from placed balls as he has been and Cathal Kearney can be as impressive at the back as he was the last day, Ballyduff are in with a big shout.

But if Abbeydorney can cut off the supply to the ball handlers, if they can reduce the amount of fouls they commit and if they can manage the amount of possession they are capable of gaining they also have a great chance.

Verdict: Ballyduff.

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