By Jerome O’Connell Limerick Leader Sport
THIS is little time to rest for Limerick’s All Ireland U-21 hurling champions with the majority of the panel back in vital club action this weekend.
It’s the busiest championship weekend of the year for Limerick GAA fixture-makers with 15-key games listed over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Limerick worked with a 36-man U-21 panel and 28 will tog out with 18 different clubs sides this weekend.
Their is an extended break for the four Na Piarsaigh and three Kilmallock players from competitive action, as both clubs have already advanced directly into the September 23 Limerick SHC semi finals.
The leading duo await the winners of this Saturday’s Limerick SHC double-header in the Gaelic Grounds.
The attractive double-bill will be televised live on eir Sport television as will the county hurling semi finals later in the month.
First up is a repeat of the 2016 Limerick SHC final between Patrickswell and Ballybrown. The all-parish affair has a 6.00 start on Saturday and Kilmallock await the winners in the semi final.
Cian Lynch is a doubt for Gary Kirby’s champions. The Patrickswell man only proved his fitness on Saturday morning ahead of the U-21 final and was substituted after eight minutes of the second half. The Well will be able to call upon U-21 top scorer Aaron Gillane, who hit 0-44 for Limerick in the five game run to the All Ireland title, including five points from play in a Man of the Match display last Saturday.
The second quarter final has a 7.45 start and pits Adare against Doon. Adare have already booked their place in the county senior football semi finals, where they play Dromcollogher-Broadford. Adare will include three U-21 panelists, while Doon will have two on duty. Na Piarsaigh await the winner in the last four.
Adare lost out in the semi final stage last year, while Doon were beaten quarter finalists.
Aside from quarter final and semi final action in the top three tiers of Limerick club hurling championship, there are also three vital relegation play-offs in the fixture list for this weekend.
First up on Friday (6.15) in Newcastle West, Ballysteen play Rathkeale with both battling to secure their senior football status.
On Sunday (12noon), senior hurling survival is on the cards for south Limerick neighbours Bruff and Knockainey.
At the same time in Newcastle West is the intermediate hurling relegation play-off is between Knockaderry and St Kierans.
Sunday also has the seventh and final round of games in the Premier IHC. Murroe-Boher and Feohanagh have already secured semi final spots.
While there are a number of permutations, the two remaining spots could very well be decided by two head-to-head clashes – Blackrock against Garryspillane and Bruree against Pallasgreen.
Ahead of the final round of games, Mungret and Effin are already confirmed relegated from the Premier IHC.
Limerick SHC quarter finals
Ballybrown v Patrickswell, Saturday September 16 in the Gaelic Grounds at 6.00pm
Adare v Doon, Saturday September 16 in the Gaelic Grounds at 7.45pm
Limerick SHC Relegation Final
Bruff v Knockainey, Sunday September 17 in Kilmallock at 12noon
Limerick SHC County Cup semi finals
Ahane v Cappamore, Sunday September 17 in Caherconlish at 12noon
Monaleen v South Liberties, Saturday September 16 in Caherconlish at 3.00pm
Limerick Premier IHC final round
All games on Sunday September 17 at 1.00pm
Blackrock v Garryspillane in Kilbreedy
Mungret v Effin in Bruff
Feohanagh v Murroe-Boher in Clarina
Bruree v Pallasgreen in Claughaun
Limerick IHC quarter finals
Na Piarsaigh v Granagh-Ballingarry, Sunday September 17 in Bruff at 5.30pm
Kildimo-Pallaskenry v Newcastle West, Saturday September 16 in The Bog Garden at 4.00pm
Limerick IHC County Cup semi finals
Claughaun-Old Christians v Dromcollogher-Broadford, Sunday September 17 in Croagh at 6.00pm
Croom v Hospital-Herbertstown, Friday September 15 in Kilbreedy at 8.00pm
Limerick IHC Relegation Final
Knockaderry v St Kierans, Sunday September 17 in Newcastle West at 12noon
Limerick SFC Relegation Final
Ballysteen v Rathkeale, Friday September 15 in Newcastle West at 6.15pm.