Draws produce some interesting battles
By Pat Treacy
Intermediate league/ championship
The Michael Lyng Motors intermediate hurling league/championship has produced an intriguing draw, with Group Two containing the heavy hitters.
Last year’s league champions and championship finalists the Rower-Inistioge have an opening game against last year’s senior relegated team Clara. Glenmore, who won the intermediate shield in 2011 and narrowly lost the championship semi-final to eventual winners Danesfort, take on 2010 championship finalists Mullinavat in their opening game.
Two more southern teams clash in the opening round, with under-21 A champions of 2010 and finalists in 2011 Mooncoin taking on the junior champions of 2010, John Lockes Callan.
The current junior champions of Kilkenny and Leinster, St Patrick’s Ballyragget, open their intermediate league campaign with a game against Tullogher Rosbercon in Group One. A tasty northern derby is the opener for St Lachtain’s Freshford against neighbours the Emeralds Urlingford – a repeat of last year’s championship quarter-final, which Freshford won with a late goal burst.
Young Irelands Gowran, with new manager DJ Carey guiding their fortunes, take on Conahy Shamrocks with both teams parading a mixture of youth and experience.
The JJ Kavanagh & Sons junior hurling league/championship draw got off to a flyer, with two clubs from the one parish drawn together: the Blacks and Whites against Graiguenamanagh.
The green and white hoops of Graiguenamanagh sent their neighbours to the junior grade in 2010, and they also had the edge when they played each other in the league during that season. Beaten county finalists Piltown begin their campaign with a game against a youthful and promising Kilmacow outfit in a southern derby.
The ever-competitive Galmoy will play a Thomastown team that will have serious designs on championship honours in 2012.
Group Two has three teams with serious championship aspirations, with Lisdowney and Bennettsbridge locking horns in the opener. Barrow Rangers, with an abundance of quality young hurlers coming through, take on Slieverue, while the experienced Windgap play a youthful Cloneen.
The Blacks and Whites v Graignamanagh
Kilmacow v Piltown
Galmoy v Thomastown
Lisdowney v Bennettsbridge
Slieverue v Barrow Rangers
Windgap v Cloneen
Erin’s Own v Mooncoin
Dicksboro v Dunnamaggin
O’Loughlin Gaels a bye
Clara v James Stephens
St Martin’s v Tullaroan
The Fenians a bye