There was to be no shock result in the first round of the St Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship on Sunday evening at UPMC Nowlan Park as Ballyhale Shamrocks eased past Glenmore to book their place in this weekend’s quarter-final.
That 3-26 to 0-20 victory was followed by the draw for the last-eight with the county champions discovering that their next opponents will be 2013 and 2015 winners Clara.
Speaking to Scoreline following his side’s defeat of Glenmore, Shamrocks manager Pat Hoban reflected on that impressive performance, the need to improve and the challenge that Clara will pose.
See also: TJ Reid on Ballyhale Shamrocks’ five-in-a-row charge: ‘There were a lot of question marks about this team’
He began: “The result is ultimately what we wanted. It’s knockout so we were coming into this game with serious pressure.
“Glenmore were coming off the back of some really good performances and victories. The result was the key today and we’re happy that we got over the line.”
“The final round of the league (a defeat to Tullaroan) was important to us because it would have guaranteed us a place in the quarter-finals.
“When we didn’t get that it became serious very quickly. There’s huge experience in this dressing room and they know exactly how to step it up for championship. From my point of view as manager, that makes it a lot easier.”
See also: Dates for your diary: Kilkenny senior hurling championship quarter-finals heading to UPMC Nowlan Park
On the team’s style of play, he noted:
“We have a lot of exceptional hurlers and we encourage use of the ball not just with our forwards but throughout the team. When you combine good play with work rate and intensity, you’ve always got a chance.”
The former Kilkenny minor boss admitted that he was happy to get a knockout tie under their belts, but also cautioned that a better performance is needed against shield champions Clara if they are to advance to the semi-finals.
“We’re happy to have a championship game behind us now. The games are coming very fast this year and we now have to look ahead to Clara.
“They’ve already defeated us in the league this year so we know the challenge that’s ahead of us. There are parts of this game that we’re not happy with, especially in the second half and we’ll have to improve on that because it won’t be good enough in a tighter game.”
On what the build-up will consist of during the week, Hoban said:
“The preparation for Clara is going to be very light.
“The Ballyhale Shamrocks junior team play in the championship on Tuesday night (against Dicksboro) and we have a huge overlap of players between that team and the senior side so we’re going to have to recover and try and get some players back from injury. We have to get the heads right and take whatever comes next week.”
We’ll have full live commentary of all four quarter-finals in the St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship this weekend, with Ballyhale Shamrocks taking on Clara at 3.45pm on Sunday afternoon.