Hurling fans around Kilkenny can hardly control their excitement for the hurling-filled weekend ahead. The Senior Kilkenny Hurling Championship semi-finals double-header will take place on Sunday. At the end of the weekend two of the 4 teams will continue to the final and the others will go home. Bennetsbridge plays The O’Loughlin Gaels at 1.15 pm while after that, Ballyhale Shamrocks face off against James Stephens. Both games will no doubt be thrillers to witness.
KCLR spoke to Ballyhale manager Pat Hoban about the weekend to come. Hoban says he looks forward to the game against Brian Coady’s side.
‘’You’re down to the top 4 with a chance to get into a senior county final … It’s within touching distance.’’ Says Hoban.
Ballyhale met James Stephens in the County Final last year and came out victorious. This further emphasized the long-standing rivalry between the two clubs.
‘’It’s probably a motivation for James Stephens, to say ‘We owe these lads a return visit.’ ‘’
‘’We’re long-standing rivals. Ballyhale is one of the few country clubs who were able to take them on over the decades.’’
Ballyhale is lucky to have more than one Kilkenny Senior County players call Ballyhale home. But, Ballyhale would certainly not be the same team without their great non-county players.
‘’You need 15, or 20 players available, Ballyhale have numerous what we call – very, very good ‘club players.’ Eoin Cinelli being at the top of that pile.’’
Hoban spoke about how important preparation and tactics are for a game of such importance in today’s hurling. Especially against a quality team like James Stephens.
‘’It is important to be well prepared, analyzing, getting to know the players.’’
‘’When you look through their team sheet, they have lots of county seniors and guys playing really well there.’’
Tune into KCLR for full live coverage of both semi-finals on Sunday.
With reporting from Scoreline’s Donagh Maher.