U-21 PREMIER HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-7 Patrickswell 1-14. Our U-21 hurlers bowed out of Championship after a defeat to Patrickswell in the Gaelic Grounds on Tuesday. Conditions haven’t been great for hurling in any of the games, but this was by far the worst of the lot, players on both sides had to endure absolutely horrific conditions with wind, driving rain and sleet hindering play on both sides. The final score definitely flattered our opponents, again we probably didn’t make the most of our chances in the first half when playing with the wind.

We did play some nice hurling in the first half, despite the conditions and ran into an early lead. Conor Staff fed Kyle Hayes, who fired over for the opening score of the game before Kyle himself was fouled, and Liam Griffin converted the free. When Kyle was fouled again after a strong run, Adam Butler struck over the close-range free before those two linked up in open play; Kyle popping the ball out to Adam who showed sharp wrists to give us a four-point lead.

At this point, we were well on top but also missed a few chances before Patrickswell scored their first point of the game from a free. Kyle Hayes then linked up with Dylan Corrigan who became the third of our half-forward line to score from play inside the first 20 minutes. Good work from Naoise McGarrigle opened up the Patrickswell defence, he popped a handpass to Paudi Hartigan whose shot forced a double save from the Patrickswell goalkeeper, which they needed to avoid us opening a big lead.

This seemed to give Patrickswell confidence and they came more into the game in the closing stages of the first half, scoring another free before Conor Staff landed a monster point from midfield. But we didn’t extend this lead further and three points in a row from Patrickswell before the half ended saw them claw the deficit back to just a single point at: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 0-6 Patrickswell 0-5.

It was disappointing to only go in a point up having dominated the first half and having played some nice hurling but we were hit with a hammer blow early in the second half as Patrickswell rattled off three scores without reply within two minutes of the restart. With the downpour increasing over the half-time break, surface water breaking out all over the pitch and the cold really setting on, these were big scores in the context of the game. Again, we did not want to be chasing the game against the wind but when a long ball in from Patrickswell skidded off the surface resulting in a fortuitous goal, it already seemed like a long way back.

James Mason did make a smart save to prevent Patrickswell from extending their advantage. We battled hard but had to chase goals as the game progressed and as the conditions deteriorated even further, so too did the hurling on both sides. Cold hands made it virtually impossible to catch a ball cleanly and with water rising off the surface every time a player went to pick the ball, it meant there were plenty of rucks and scrambles for dirty ball on the ground. Kyle Hayes was excellent at centre-forward, particularly in the first half, Luke O’Keeffe put in a big performance in the middle of the field and Dylan Corrigan showed lots of endeavour in attack. Liam Griffin would respond to a run of four Patrickswell points following the goal with a free, but we were unable to close the gap further, the goal never came and our opponents were able to see out the win.

It drew an end to our first ever foray into the Premier U-21 Hurling Championship. We were by no way embarrassed, we held our own in every game and picked up a win. It was disappointing that we were unable to field a full-strength team in any fixture due to various injuries as well as college and work commitments but it also showed how clinical teams need to be at the highest level and the experience will have benefited our players hugely. A massive thanks to the management team of John Barry, Liam Hayes, Brian Butler and Brian Barry for their efforts and we hope these players having big seasons ahead at Premier Intermediate, Junior B and Minor levels also!

Team: James Mason; Jack Mullane, Mikey Hayes, Darragh O’Brien; Cathal Downes, Liam Griffin (0-2, frees), James Pomeroy; Conor Staff, Luke O’Keeffe; Adam Butler (0-2, 0-1 free), Kyle Hayes (0-1), Dylan Corrigan (0-1); Paudi Hartigan, Naoise McGarrigle, Matthew Lucey

Subs: Jai Chaudri for Matthew Lucey (42 mins); Cathal O’Shaughnessy for Kyle Hayes (47 mins); Aaron O’Donovan for Dylan Corrigan (55 mins); Mícheál Cuddihy for Paudi Hartigan (55 mins)

ALL-COUNTY FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 4: Kildimo/Pallaskenry 5-15 Ahane 0-1. Our footballers played their first league game of the season in Pallaskenry at the weekend, having received a walkover in their previous encounter. Our lads had a good win against what was an understrength Ahane side. Goals from Mark Curran, Peter Nash, Tommy O’Connor, Darren O’Connell and Lorcan O’Leary helped us on our way to victory. It was good to get a game under our belt with Championship fast approaching, with the first game at the end of the month.

LIMERICK SENIOR HURLERS: The Limerick senior hurlers have qualified for the National Hurling League semi-final after a convincing victory over Laois in O’Moore Park on Saturday. Well done to all involved, including our own Kyle Hayes, Barry O’Connell and Ruairí Maher and best of luck in the semi-final!