PREVIEW: Ballyheigue Will Be Up Against It When They Face St Brendan’s

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Our hurling writer, Mike O’Halloran, thinks St Brendan’s will have the better of their neighbours this Sunday in the Garveys Supervalu Kerry SHC first round match… 

Ardfert's, Darren Dineen, races at the Ballyheigue defence. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

St Brendan’s Darren Dineen, races at the Ballyheigue defence in last year’s championship encounter. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

BALLYHEIGUE and St Brendan’s is the second-match at Abbeydorney on Sunday coming at 4.30pm,  after the Kilmoyley V Ballyduff opener earlier that afternoon.

St Brendan’s return to the beautiful pitch that is presented at Abbeydorney to try to put the ghost of last year’s county final to rest.

I’m pretty sure that St Brendan’s will never be as poor again as they were in the final last year, where they lost their way very early on and were well beaten in the end by Kilmoyley.

Continued below…

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St Brendan’s have a huge cohort of very successful players of varying ages from the likes of John Egan – whose name is usually prefixed by “The Great” –  to the Horgans and young Eric Leen.

St Brendan’s will not want any banana skins on the way to another final and a chance at redemption. In the county final last year, Kevin Hannafin was not introduced until very late, Cian Hussey was in his element two seasons ago when he starred in the championship and he now seems to have returned to his best in the past few weeks.

Darren Dineen will lord any area of the field he operates in.

St Brendan’s have the benefit of playing in a final already this year, when they were defeated by Causeway in the 2015 County League final two weeks ago. They had beaten Causeway a week or so earlier in a high-scoring game in Ardfert and they also accounted for Ballyduff.

St Brendan’s have had quality games in the run up to this encounter with Ballyheigue, who do not seem to me firing on all cylinders. This time last year they were pushing Kilmoyley to extra time in the North Kerry Championship, but two weeks ago they were a pale shadow of themselves when Kilmoyley smacked them all over the pitch.

There was an improvement in their fortunes later with a win over Lixnaw, which might point to an improvement in their form just at the right time.

Ballyheigue have not had much success at underage level in recent years and are dependent on the free taking abilities of Philip Lucid to get scores on the board.

Jason Casey will attempt to drive them from the back and Shane Dunne will be busy around the field with help from Tomas Casey, Mikey Halloran and Jason Griffin, but it will not be enough to overcome St Brendan’s.

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