By Kevin Regan
This Sunday St Mullins will thread waters in the Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship for the third year in a row.
It’s also the third year in a row in which they have faced Westmeath opposition.
On Both previous occasions in 2014 and 2015 they came up short.
Raharney were their opponents back in 2014 and they again will provide the opposition at 2pm in Cusack Park Mullingar on Sunday.
St Mullins know in their heart of hearts that they didn’t quite do themselves justice in either of those Leinster Championship games over the past two years.
That makes this Sunday’s game all the more important because the men from the South of the county are more than capable of not only beating Raharney, but also making a serious imprint on the Leinster Championship as a whole.
For me St Mullins are a much better team than what they were in 2014 and last year.
That theory was proven in the Carlow Senior Hurling Final when they dismantled Mount Leinster Rangers at ease, a team who have made everything a possibility after their run to the 2014 All Ireland Final.
Ironically enough the draw for this years Leinster Championship is almost a carbon copy of the draw when Rangers became Leinster Champions, with the winners of Sundays Game playing Dublin or Laois opposition in the Semi Final, with Offaly, Kilkenny and Wexford opposition all on the far side.
Is this an Omen? Maybe. Maybe not.
However a win on Sunday would most certainly take the monkey off the back and the prize for doing that would be a home semi final at Netwatch Cullen Park.
How enticing is that!
Raharney are a very good side and would argue that they too are a better outfit than what they were in that 2014 victory over St Mullins.
The Doyle Twins – Killian and Ciaran are excellent young hurlers, while Paul Greville and John Shaw provide a wealth of experience. Add In Cormac Boyle and Robbie Greville and you have a very balanced outfit.
However St Mullins have players that any club team in the country would love to have in their ranks, with Marty Kavanagh, James Doyle and Seamus Murphy flying it up front this year, while Paudie Kehoe is playing the hurling of his life at centre back.
Manager PJ Delaney and trainer Jimmy Dunne have cranked things up another notch this season and their youthful exuberance combined with calmness on the line and their ability to get the desired performance has worked wonders so far this season.
This will undoubtedly be their biggest test of the year so far, but it’s one I think they can pass.
If they do that then everything suddenly becomes a real possibility.
We Will Have Full Live Commentary Of The Game On Sunday From 2pm