Clare IHC Quarter Final Previews
Former Clare player and current Scariff Bay Community Radio commentator Leo Doyle looks ahead to a massive weekend of action in the Clare intermediate hurling championship with three quarter-final ties down for decision.
Scariff v Tulla
This is without question the tie of the round, and probably one of the best ties of the entire weekend because both of these are in the reckoning for the championship.
Tulla were nervous against Scariff that first night in Shannon because they were newly down from senior and that was understandable. The pressure is always on the team that comes down to go straight back up because you find that if you are there for a few years, it can take you a while to come out of it. Once they found their feet, they put in a solid performance.
Scariff regrouped from that and put in a really good performance the last day against Parteen, and were led by the returning Mark Rodgers who is an asset to any team. He found space that day which will not probably be there the next day.
Tulla really increased their performance the last day against Killanena and put them away early on. The nerves were gone, and they have introduced some young players this year that have really improved their team. Some of them have played county underage and they bring that added energy which blends well with the more experienced players.
Scariff were in the reckoning last year too and looked in control against St Joseph’s in the semi-final before losing it in extra time. They have some key players in each line, but the question is if it will be enough.
I think Tulla are the favourites coming into this game and might come through a real battle.
Bodyke v St Joseph’s Doora Barefield
It has been a good year for Bodyke because it has been a while since they put championship wins back to back. It is a team somewhat in transisition with a lot of young players breaking through and more coming behind them in the next few years. The opposition may have been poor but you can only play what is put out in front of you.
The challenge they will meet from St Joseph’s is going to be much more formidable, albeit that it is a St Joseph’s team that have not yet fired on all cylinders. They struggled over Newmarket the last day but when you look at St Joseph’s last year, they only lost the intermediate final to Broadford by a point and we have seen how well they have done since coming back to the senior ranks.
They met last year in the championship and St Joseph’s won it well without Davy Conroy and the Hannan brothers that day. There is no pressure on Bodyke coming into this game and they can have a right cut at it to see how far they have come over the last 12 months. The opponent with nothing to lose is a dangerous one to face and Bodyke are really looking forward to this one. They will have no fear, and all the pressure is on St Joseph’s to go and win the game.
I still expect St Joseph’s to come through and they are going to have a big say in this championship.
Verdict: St Joseph’s
Sixmilebridge v Tubber
This is another intruiging tie. The form we can go on here is that both have wins over Inagh-Kilnamona’s second team. The Bridge came back from a big half-time deficit to take the game to extra-time and eventually won it well. I thought that day that Inagh-Kilnamona would have a big say in the championship, and then they drew Tubber who are always one of the favourites. They are always knocking on the door since coming down from senior and are another example of how hard it is to come back up after a few years in the second tier. Goals kept Inagh-Kilnamona in that game and Tubber did well to come through.
Tubber were unlucky against St Joseph’s last year and they have great experience with the likes of Ronan Taffe, Pat O’Connor and the Earley brothers. The Bridge have good players in Lorcan Fitzpatrick and Sean Lynch and I think Adam Breen has strengthened their defence since coming in.
I would expect that the greater experience of Tubber to be the ultimate difference here in another tight battle
Smith O’Briens v Cratloe or Corofin
There is a lot to be sorted out here and Smith O’Brien’s will get a chance to see their potential opponents this weekend.
Corofin have a lot of good young players coming through and it is great to see Gearoid Cahill back after his injury. It is hard enough to mark one Cahill but now you have two of them to mind with Diarmaid making his breakthrough to adult level. They should get over the challenge of Cratloe this weekend, and we hope that everyone affected by the Covid-19 situation in Cratloe are recovering well.
Smith O’Brien’s would always fancy themselves to have a good run in the championship and if Corofin come through, it will make for a very interesting quarter-final.
The Killaloe men are very reliant on Tommy Reddan to get their scores with plenty of them being frees, and that workload will have to be divided out. The Stritch’s showed a return to form the last day and Cian Nolan is as good a forward as what’s in the county.
I would still expect Corofin to come through this side of the draw, albeit that they have to get over Cratloe this weekend first.