The J.J. Kavanagh & Sons Junior Hurling Championship reaches its penultimate stage on Sunday next, Oct. 21st. Northern champions, Lisdowney, will face southern champions, Thomastown, at 2.30 p.m. in Nowlan Park and this game will be preceded by Bennettsbridge versus O’Loughlin Gaels at 1 p.m. in the other semi-final.
Buoyed by the inclusion of a large number of their A minor winning team of last year ( 7 or 8 in all) the ‘Bridge have reached the ‘Park slightly under the radar. Their impressive elimination of fancied Piltown, particularly their first-half display, and subsequent big win over Slieverue has put them in a very challenging position. They had three points to spare over O’Loughin Gaels in the Northern Championship. O’Loughlin’s have had another very good season, reaching the semi’s for the second year in succession. Like last year they will be weakened by losing players to their senior team, one mid-fielder and a few of their better forwards, but they’re still a strong team and will take beating. Prediction is for the ‘Bridge to advance and lay down a marker as strong title contenders.
Referee: John Kennedy, Ballyhale
The second semi-final has the makings of the junior hurling contest of the year. If the draw had kept them apart they would have been expected to advance to the final. Lisdowney have come through a very difficult side of the draw, defeating Kilmacow & Barrow Rangers respectively by 3 pts. They are certainly a very talented and experienced side, battle-hardened from winning county & all-county league titles over the past number of years as well as being finalists in 2008 and semi-finalists in 2010. Thomastown were in the A minor hurling final last year and have included a number of them in the current line-up. Since defeating Piltown, after extra time, in the southern championship they haven’t looked back with good wins over Windgap & Black & Whites. They’re an improving and well-balanced team and Lisdowney will have to be at their very best to overcome them. The men from the north are favourites and justifiably so but maybe an improving Thomastown side might just get there.
Referee: Dominic Connolly, Mooncoin
Graignamanagh will play the Fenians in this J.J. Kavanagh & Sons junior hurling relegation final in Jenkinstown on Sat. 20th Oct. at 3.30 p.m. As this is the Fenians’ second team and with Graig down from the intermediate ranks last year it would be the shock result of the year if Graig were to lose and compete in the Junior A competitions next year. The Fenians lost by a point to Dunnamaggin in the preliminary round and despite losing players to their senior team they may trouble their opponents. However Graignamanagh should prevail here with a bit in hand.
Referee: Maurice Flynn, Mooncoin