Kilkenny club hurling semi-finals preview

james stephens

The Kilkenny club hurling is down to the final four. The majestic Ballyhale are hot-favorites to retain the Tom Walsh Cup. Will James Stephens upset the apple-cart? Before that match, a close encounter is expected between O’Loughlin’s and  Dicksboro. Accordingly, it should be a great week-ends action in Kilkenny for GAA fans.

O’Loughlin Gaels V Dicksboro  UPMC Nolan Park 3 PM.

(live on RTE 2)

O’Loughlin Gaels had a real battle with Erin’s Own (Castlecomer). The Gaels bagged the goals that mattered through Eoin O’Shea and Paddy Butler, who both raised the green flags. In the second half, it was the Huw Lawlor and Paddy Deegan to the fore. O’Loughlins served notice of their pedigree when downing Ballyhale. They will expect to advance to the decider.

Dickboro were impressive in seeing off a game Bennetsbridge. There was little between the teams in the early stages – Bennettsbridge led by 0-5 to 0-4. Dicksboro then went on a scoring spree. Aidan Nolan hit the net on 14 minutes. Liam Moore has a quick-fire 1-2 after the water break, to put them in total control. As a result, they ran out easy winners 3-27 to 2-14. The Gaels will pose a different challenge, however. Dicksboro will look to curb the inspirational Paddy Deegan’s surging runs.

James Stephens V Ballyhale  UPMC Nolan Park 5 PM Saturday.

(Live on RTE 2)

James Stephens had to work hard in their last-eight encounter with Mullinavat.  A goal from a Niall Brassil penalty had them up 1-13 to 0-8 at the break. Five points from midfielder Cian Kenny who was the stand-out performer had them in a winning position.

Mullinavat clung on grimly though. A goal from John Walsh helped bring them back into the game. They narrowed that to just a single point before the ‘Village’ rallied with three Eoin Guilfoyle points. On their day Stephens are a handful for anyone. O’Loughlin’s win over the champions at the group stage shows Ballyhale are not invincible.

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Ballyhale Shamrocks hit three goals in quick succession to blitz a shell-shocked Clara, in the last round. Eoin Cody struck first and  Eoin Reid finished to the net twice. Another goal from Kilkenny talisman TJ Reid in the 11th minute ended the contest. It’s been a mixed bag for Ballyhale thus far. They needed a late goal to draw with Tullaroan. A shock loss to O’Loughlin Gaels by nine points was uncharacteristic. They are running smoothly now though, and it will take a herculean effort if the Village are to prevail here.


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