HURLING: Kilmoyley And Crotta To Come Through C’ship Ties

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Mike O’Halloran looks at the Garveys SuperValu Kerry senior hurling championship games on Monday and Tuesday…

Abbeydorney's, Kieran Dineen, clears a ball while St Brendans Fionan Horgan tries to get a block in. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Abbeydorney’s, Kieran Dineen, clears a ball while St Brendans Fionan Horgan tries to get a block in the championship tie a few weeks ago. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Abbeydorney will take on Kilmoyley at 6.30pm in Ballyduff with the winners heading to the semi-final, while on Tuesday, Ballyduff will take on fellow losers from the last round Crotta ONeills in Lixnaw also at 6.30pm.

Abbeydorney travel to Ballyduff with high hopes of progressing to the semis after they saw off one of my favourites for the Neilus Flynn trophy, St Brendan’s in Causeway a couple of weeks ago.

Abbeydorney were, by all accounts, very impressive on that occasion racking up 1-17, with only 0-5 coming from frees. P J Keane was their scorer in chief with a total of 9-4 from play the rest from placed balls.

The O’Dorney lads had seven different scorers that day and that is usually a good indicator that a team is balanced and playing with confidence.

Kieran Dineen, Brian O’Leary, PJ Keane, Eoin Egan, David Egan, Ivan McCarthy and Daniel O’Leary were on target that day, but bear in mind that Kieran Hannafin is always good for a point or two and Steve O’Sullivan is always liable to poach a goal. Never mind the scoring threat that Darragh O’Brien can bring, Abbeydorney are well placed to present Kilmoyley with a severe challenge.

Kilmoyley eventually overcame Crotta O’Neill’s at the second time of asking in the wind and rain, where they ran out winners on a scoreline of 1-12 to 0-10.

Daniel Collins was the man responsible for 1-11 of their total with fellow county man Adrian Royle adding the other point.

As said earlier, Abbeydorney had seven different scorers in their win to Kilmoyley’s two scorers but remember in the drawn game Kilmoyley had scores from Tom Murnane, Jordan Brick, Sean Maunsell, Robert Collins and Micheal Regan.

Kilmoyley had 1-17 in the drawn game, the same score as Abbeydorney managed against St Brendan’s.

So there seems to be very little between them, the advantage would to my mind lie with Kilmoyley.

Kilmoyley have had two very stern tests against Crotta and at this stage of the competition the Crotta test was superior to the challenge posed by St Brendan’s (who are not yet firing on all cylinders).

The fact that Abbeydorney had no game in a couple of weeks could be a plus as they have had loads of time to prepare some of their “returnees” and time to rest and sort out any knocks or bruises they may have gained in the game versus St Brendan’s.

Kilmoyley will have spent most of their week in recovery mode and resting their tired limbs after a long afternoon of hurling in bad conditions in a very physical game.

Abbeydorney need success in the premier competition to match the wonderful facilities they have provided for their club and county and they will not be presented with a better opportunity, as I’ve always felt that the trip to Austin Stacks in the past did not suit them.

They will be playing in a pitch they are well used to and the nerves should be reduced.

A very hard one to call but Kilmoyley to just about shade it.

Crotta's, star man, Shane Nolan, reacts to one of his scores. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Crotta’s Shane Nolan will be hugely influential on Tuesday. Photo by Dermot Crean.

Ballyduff V Crotta O’Neills

Folklore tells us that Ballyduff gets its name from being burned and rising from the black ashes to relocate to its present location.

It is unlikely that Ballyduff will be able to raise their championship challenge from the ashes of the defeat to Causeway in Kilmoyley a couple of weeks ago.

Ballyduff are completely decimated by injuries to Paud Costello and Padraigh Boyle, both of these men are major losses and coupled with retirements and emigration, their challenge is now more than likely to end in Lixnaw next Tuesday evening.

Ballyduff could only manage ten points against Causeway with only three coming from play.

Padraigh Boyle got five points that evening, he is now out for some time with a knee injury.

Ballyduff are considered every year to be potential champions and it is a pity that the club, who lead the order of merit in titles won, are finding things so difficult. There is a fine crop of very young hurlers on the way in five or six years time.

Crotta are the direct opposite. They are on the cusp of success with the amount of underage talent they have in the pipeline and if they can’t make the breakthrough this year, success at senior level is not far away.

Crotta had two games with Kilmoyley the last one was long and physical and played in dreadful weather conditions.

Crotta scored 1-17 the first day against Kilmoyley with five different players recording scores. In the replay they managed ten points with only two of them from play with Shane Nolan scoring the rest from frees.

If other Crotta players can supplement Shane Nolan’s contribution with a few scores they should have enough to see off Ballyduff.

But the championship can be funny. Ballyduff have had two weeks to gather their thoughts and regroup for the challenge.

A wounded Ballyduff is always a dangerous animal. There is talk of one or two returning from retirement and they might give fortitude to the likes of Eoin Ross, Daniel Carroll and Jack Goulding to rekindle the fighting spirit that spawned the song “The Boys From Ballyduff Are Always There”.

If Ballyduff can hold Shane Nolan scoreless from play like Kilmoyley did last week and if the can reduce the amount of frees they concede they have a small chance.

If Crotta can recover from their tough game against Kilmoyley and if their young gun Jordan Conway is given decent ball they can take the scalp of the Cashen siders.

Crotta to win this one

Games In North Kerry.

There has been much positive comment on the staging of the games in the North Kerry venues with the pitch conditions in Causeway, Kilmoyley and Abbeydorney in splendid condition.

I’m looking forward to the game in “the home of hurling” on Monday evening and then on to Lixnaw on Tuesday.

The “old field” in Ballyduff looks in fine fettle and the new fencing and parking facilities will make the experience for both players and patrons a pleasant occasion.

The pitch in Lixnaw is always in great shape at this time of year and their carpark and stand is second to none.

The work of the stewards at all the clubs has been absolutely top class, who along with the caterers have been a credit to their clubs and communities.

I have been appointed the official judge for the “buttered curny cake category”, holding a slight lead in that category at the time of writing is Causeway GAA caterers, but as the saying goes “there is many a slip between cup and lip” so the competition is wide open.

Since “outside referees” were introduced a few years ago to referee the county championship matches there has been an on going discussion among hurling folk as to the merits of this arrangement.

To be fair, the introduction of the referees from outside the county has worked fairly well, with the odd glitch, most of the glitches were not caused by the action or inaction of the referee but by the misconduct of a player or mentor.

Referees are just as prone to the odd error as we spectators are, but when we stand on the terrace we are prone to questioning every decision through our club coloured glasses and sometimes those club coloured glasses are not 20/20.

There is no question that officials made errors over the course of this championship and harsh comments have been made on those perceived errors, comments that were left publically unchallenged. Errors made by others outside the white lines were hardly got a mention.

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