U-21 HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 1-10 Belville Gaels 2-13. Our Seven Sisters-sponsored U-21 hurlers suffered defeat in their opening game of the U-21 Hurling Championship at the weekend, away to Belville Gaels. Unfortunately, due to an unprecedented number of injuries and players being unavailable for other reasons, we were forced to play with only 14 players. We also spent a portion of the first half down to 13 men due to a blood injury suffered by our captain, Jack Mullane. Despite these setbacks, the team fought valiantly and it is fair to say that the final scoreline flattered our opponents.

Belville Gaels had the advantage of a very strong wind in the first half and dominated this period. Our lads held them out well for the first fifteen minutes but, particularly when we were down to 13, the men from the West were able to rack up a number of scores while we only scored one against the wind in the first half, a free from Adam Butler. Playing into the teeth of the wind while outnumbered in attack made things very difficult but there were certainly signs of what was to come also. Our backs battled very hard, Shaun Barry dominant at centre-back and hurled more ball than anyone else on the pitch. Naoise McGarrigle won some great puckouts from James Mason, who did very well considering the strength of the wind while the likes of James Pomeroy and Jai Chaudri battled throughout.

Despite going in behind by nine points, the players knew that with the wind at their backs, they had a real chance of causing an upset in the second half. And so it proved, they tore into their opponents from the start of the second half, dismantling the opposition puckout. Adam Butler struck a lovely point from play and we were also notching more frees than we had in the first half. Luke Guinane moved into attack from corner-back and was a real handful for the Belville Gaels defence while Marc O’Shea did superbly in the full-back line alongside Jack Mullane and Jai Chaudri. Some good interplay out the field from the likes of Paudi Hartigan and Adam Butler set Aaron O’Donovan free and he rattled the back of the net with a rasping shot which left the keeper no chance.

The game was now back on and we had cut the gap to just two points before Belville Gaels had their first point. Luke Guinane scored a lovely point after intercepting a puckout and Aaron O’Donovan also fired over another score off his left side. However, a ball dropped in around the square caused us difficulties and Belville Gaels managed to notch what was a fortuitous goal. This was another setback but again, we responded brilliantly and continued to pressure their puckout. Luke Guinane fired narrowly over the crossbar after some good link-up play, Matthew Lucey burst forward from wing-back to intercept a ball before popping it over the bar and Shaun Barry launched a monster point from inside in his own half. Again, the gap was back to two and Belville Gaels were struggling for scores but an opportunistic goal from one of their inside forwards was enough to seal the victory.

It was disappointing to lose but it was a brave, battling performance from a very young side (only two players on the age) and there was enough quality shown to suggest that they will have a say in this Championship yet. They are out again next weekend at home to Tournafulla/Killeedy, currently fixed for 12pm. Please come out and support the team!

Team: James Mason; Jack Mullane, Jai Chaudri, Marc O’Shea; Matthew Lucey (0-1), Shaun Barry (0-1), Dean O’Neill; James Pomeroy, Paudi Hartigan; Luke Guinane (0-2), Naoise McGarrigle, Adam Butler (0-5, 0-4 frees); Conor Rowley, Aaron O’Donovan (1-1)

LIMERICK SENIOR HURLERS: A massive congratulations to Darren O’Connell who made his National League debut for Limerick at the weekend against Galway; coming off the bench to score a point and win a free. This made it two wins from two for the Limerick senior hurlers who are currently unbeaten in the 2020 season. Best of luck to Darren, Kyle Hayes, Ruairí Maher and all the Limerick senior hurling team for the rest of the season!

LIMERICK SENIOR FOOTBALLERS: The Limerick senior footballers also made it two wins from two in their league campaign with a hard-fought victory over London in Kilmallock at the weekend. Tony McCarthy was again amongst the starters, John Chawke was on the bench, while Peter Nash is also on the panel. Best of luck to Tony, John, Peter and the rest of Billy Lee’s charges for the rest of the season.

FITZGIBBON CUP: Commiserations to Kyle Hayes who was part of the UL panel who were defeated by Mary I in the Fitzgibbon Cup after extra-time during the week. Kyle was unavailable for selection due to an injury he picked up in UL’s previous round victory and his absence proved decisive in the end. We’d like to wish Kyle the very best of luck in his recovery!

CLUB LOTTO: This week’s club lotto draw of the year was held in De Bucket. The numbers drawn were 4, 6, 8, 15. There was no winner of the overall draw. The winners of the €25 lucky dips were: 1. Kay O’Dowd; 2. P.J. Malone; 3. Abbegail O’Brien; 4. Catherine Hickey. Please continue to support our club lotto as the main source of funds for the club and all teams throughout the season!