It’s quarter-final weekend in the St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship with all four games live on KCLR.
League champions’ Tullaroan take on Erin’s Own in the opening game on Saturday afternoon (2.30pm throw-in) before Bennettsbridge meet James Stephens later in the day (4.15pm throw-in).
Then on Sunday, Dicksboro face Mullinavat in the first of a double header (2pm throw-in) that is completed with the mouth-watering clash of five-in-a-row chasing Ballyhale Shamrocks and Clara (3.45pm throw-in).
With all of the ties taking place at UPMC Nowlan Park, it promises to be a feast of hurling action for supporters across the county.
See also: Tullaroan boss Coogan playing it cool as attention turns to championship hurling this weekend
Here, we preview the first quarter-final this weekend between Tullaroan and Erin’s Own.
Tullaroan vs Erin’s Own – St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final – Saturday, 2.30pm, UPMC Nowlan Park
Tullaroan are rightfully firm favourites ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Erin’s Own.
Ken Coogan’s men are coming off the back of a league campaign where they claimed top spot in a group that included Ballyhale Shamrocks and Clara.
In addition, they secured a first league title in two decades when they brushed aside the challenge of Bennettsbridge to lift the first silverware of the season.
That undeniably leaves them in very good stead heading into their first championship game since last year’s semi-final defeat to O’Loughlin Gaels.
See also: Tullaroan claim first silverware of the season with league final defeat of Bennettsbridge
Their defeats of county champions Ballyhale Shamrocks and unbeaten Group B table-toppers Bennettsbridge in their last two games has seen the 2020 All-Ireland intermediate champions enter the realm of favourites to end the Shamrocks’ dominance.
Meanwhile, Erin’s Own recent form would indicate that they will not be capable of living with Tullaroan’s firepower and defensive assurance.
For the second consecutive season, they have been embroiled in a relegation scrap and many would argue that a major factor in maintaining their senior status over the last number of years has been the fact that there is only one worse team than them in the top tier (Rower-Inistioge in 2021 and Graigue Ballycallan in 2022).
They are coming off the back of a first-round championship victory over Graigue Ballycallan and that may well be their strongest claim that advancing to the semi-finals is not out of the equation.
Unlike their opponents, Niall Rigney’s outfit have a knockout clash under their belts. The importance of that cannot be understated. Clichés aside, there is no substitute for getting 60-minutes of championship hurling behind you as a team, particularly when Tullaroan have not yet done so.
See also: Results: Find out the winners and losers in Saturday’s Kilkenny senior, intermediate and junior league and championship games
That ability to be up to the intensity level required from the offset is something that Erin’s Own must use to their full advantage in the opening quarter where they need to build up a healthy lead and take all of their chances if the opportunities arise.
However, other than having played in the championship already, there is very little that Erin’s Own supporters can cling onto when it comes to reasons why they should be optimistic for this clash.
Tullaroan will expect a win and should not be overly concerned of any other result occurring.
Verdict: Tullaroan are a level above Erin’s Own and will show it once they pull away in the second half. A three-score victory for the league champions awaits.
You can find out who will take their place in next weekend’s St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals on KCLR as we bring you live coverage of the quarter-final ties this Saturday and Sunday, with Tullaroan and Erin’s Own beginning a busy weekend of hurling from 2.30pm on Saturday.