Home Hurling Club Hurling Previewed and Profiled: Yet another wide open Intermediate hurling championship set to...

Previewed and Profiled: Yet another wide open Intermediate hurling championship set to commence

The Intermediate hurling championship gets underway on Thursday nighttonight with plenty at stake.

The competition, which was previously ran on a knock-out basis with a backdoor, continues as a group based competition once again this year.

In a bid to reduce the number of rounds from six to five, the quarter-final stage has been done away with.

So only two team will emerge from each group, instead of three which is the case at higher grades.

Below, we take a look at how the teams are shaping up:

GROUP A

Clonad

Manager: David O’Brien

Main Man: Fionn Holland

Last Year: After reaching the semi final in 2017, Clonad have regressed in the last three years and ended up in a relegation final in 2019 where they defeated Ballypickas. The latter stayed up due to the formation of Colt-Shanahoe and Clonad were thankful as they beat them again in the group stage for their only win of 2020.

Prospects: With Borris-Kilcotton and Clough-Ballacolla in their group, the game with Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe is likely to be the one that decides if they survive or face a relegation playoff.

Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe

Manager: Tim Carroll

Main Man: Danny Brennan

Last Year: After winning Junior ‘A’ in 2019, the first year up was always going to be tough for PRT. Lost all their group games but had enough to defeat Ballypickas in the relegation final.

Prospects: Like Clonad above, they will not be expected to beat Borris-Kilcotton or Clough-Ballacolla – and that game against Clonad will ultimately decide whether they are battling relegation or safe once again.

Clough-Ballacolla

Manager: Georgie Boyhan

Main Man: Shane Hanlon

Last Year: Always competitive at this grade, Clough-Ballacolla reached the semi final last year where they lost out to Trumera.

Prospects: Will certainly be right up there again and could go all the way this time. Will be without Canince Coonan, Johnny Finane and Brendan McEvoy for the first round through suspension but if they get over that, they’ll be well set.

Borris-Kilcotton

Manager: Adrian Moore

Main Man: Philip Tynan

Last Year: Another of the second teams who are always competitive. Reached the semi finals last year but were beaten by eventual champions Rathdowney-Errill.

Prospects: Should get out of the group and will be targeting a final appearance this time.

Group A Fixtures 

  • Round 1 – Clonad v Borris-Kilcotton; Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe v Clough-Ballacolla
  • Round 2 – Clough-Ballacolla v Clonad; Borris-Kilcotton v Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe
  • Round 3 – Clough-Ballacolla v Borris-Kilcotton; Clonad v Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe

Group B

Trumera

Manager: Damien Walsh

Main Man: Conor Madden

Last Year: Enjoyed an influx of younger players last year and it propelled them all the way to the final. Were well beaten by Rathdowney-Errill in the final earlier this summer though.

Prospects: The first game against Mountrath will set the tone for how their season will go. Win that, and they will be primed to get out of the group and charge back to the final.

Mountrath

Manager: Michael O’Brien

Main Man: Jimmy Hyland

Last Year: Endured a really disappointing season in 2020 – losing every game at Premier Intermediate and suffering relegation.

Prospects: The side who comes down from Premier Intermediate typically starts this championship as favourites. Their league form was decent as they reached the Division 1B semi final and if they defeat neighbours Trumera in Round 1, they should reach the semis.

Mountmellick

Manager: James Young

Main Man: Donnchadh Hartnett

Last Year: Won the first two games in the group phase last year but then lost to Clough-Ballacolla in their final game and failed to get out of the group on points difference.

Prospects: Definitely good enough to get out of this group and could even reach the final if they get off to a good start against The Harps this weekend.

The Harps

Manager: Anthony Stapleton

Main Man: Ross Young

Last Year: After losing the Junior ‘A’ final in 2019, The Harps tasted glory against Portlaoise in the 2020 decider a few weeks ago.

Prospects: After just gaining promotion, the first item on their agenda will be to stay at the grade this year. One win in the group will probably achieve that.

Group B Fixtures 

  • Round 1 – The Harps v Mountmellick; Trumera v Mountrath
  • Round 2 – Mountrath v The Harps; Mountmellick v Trumera
  • Round 3 – Trumera v The Harps; Mountmellick v Mountrath

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.