Over the last few months on this amazing Munster championship run we have come up against and beat Austin Stacks from the kingdom of Kerry, Broadford from the Banner county of Clare and Eire Og Annacarty Donohill from the Premier county of Tipperary and this Sunday it will hopefully be the turn of Barrow Rangers of the Killkenny cats to feel defeat at the hands of the Shanballymore Rebels.
Any hurling match involving Cork and Killkenny is always very special and this Sunday in Killeedy will be no different when we cross paths with Barrow Rangers in the All Ireland Junior B hurling championship semi final. To think that a Shanballymore hurling team are contesting an All Ireland hurling semifinal is something we taught would never in our wildest dreams happen. But this Sunday at 1pm in Killeedy dreams will become a reality and it will be all systems go to qualify for an All Ireland final on the 13th of March.
The epic Munster final win against Eire Og Annacarty Donohill hasn’t had much time to sink in and three days after lifting the Micheal Fitzmaurice Memorial Cup the team were back on the training field preparing to write another chapter into the history books of Shanballymore GAA club. With all the excitement of winning the Munster final it would have been easy to lose sight of the next challenge but in trainer Jim O’Sullivan and the selectors Tom Palmer, Pat Walsh and Conor Hannon we have four men that are driven and very committed to make sure everything is in order for this coming Sunday.
It will be a very special day for the Killeedy club in Limerick as they host a double header of All Ireland semifinals with Shanballymore(Cork) v Barrow Rangers(Killkenny) at 1pm and Tynagh Abbey Duniry(Galway) v Eire Og Annacarty Donohill(Tipperary) at 3pm. Our own game will be a serious battle against a very good and youthful Barrow Rangers team and as always any team from Killkenny will be full of very good hurlers all over the field.
They have played four games in this All Ireland championship against Bellmont(Offaly) which they drew the first day but went on the have a comprehensive win in the replay. They beat Duffry Rovers(Wexford) in the semifinal before losing the Lenister final against Tynagh Abbey Duniry(Galway) by only a goal 1-13 to 0-13. If Barrow Rangers have got to the semifinal on merit then we have shown ourselves that it will take a very good team to beat us on our day.
From the outset of the county championship back in May 2015 this Shanballymore squad have taken no prisoners and with an outstanding defence we will go into the semifinal with great confidence. Our record in championship hurling over the last twelve months is very impressive with eleven games played and with ten wins and one draw we remain unbeaten and will be going all out to keep it that way when we go into battle this Sunday.
Over the last two weeks we have received many congratulations from different clubs all over the Avondhu region and beyond and it’s great to see that we have support coming from near and far as we go for more hurling glory. This Sunday we will not only be representing the village of Shanballymore but we will also be flying the flag for Avondhu and Cork hurling, I’m sure every cork hurling fan would like to see the Cork rebels get one over on the Killkenny cats in an All Ireland hurling semifinal.
Our panel for this Sunday will be as follows: Declan Fitzgibbon, Eoin McHugh, Eoin O’Regan, Alan Sheedy, Sean Lynch, James Hayes, Jerome Fitzgerald, Brian Sheedy, Darren Roche, Haulie Burke, Brian O’Reilly(Captain), Jamie Sheedy, Jonathan Dennehy, Colman O’Reilly, Padraig Fitzgerald, Paul Burke, Kenneth Barry, Vincent Burke, Stephen Donegan, Richard Burke, Robert McHugh, Micheal O’Donovan, Niall Barry, Eamon Fitzgerald, Brendan Hayes, Dave Twomey, Brian O’Regan, Shaun Cronin, Dylan O’Callaghan, Anthony Dennehy, Jonathan Linehan, Aiden Herbert, Richard Hallinan, Jimmy Burke.
Trainer : Jim O’Sullivan, Selectors Tom Palmer, Pat Walsh, Conor Hannon. Medical: Noreen Burke, Eddie Roche, kit man: Mick Keeffe.