Kilgarvan eager for Munster’s Junior test after county Intermediate title
THE first of two trips to west Limerick begin for Kilgarvan this Saturday when they travel to Tournafulla to take on the Limerick Junior Hurling Champions in the First Round of the Munster Junior Club Hurling Championship.
The Kenmare District club are also due to travel to Knockaderry for their Invitational Football Tournament the following weekend to take on The Nire of Waterford as Kerry’s Novice Champions.
Kilgarvan’s participation in the Hurling event is a regular occurrence at this stage but this year sees them take part on the 10th anniversary of reaching the final of the competition in 2008 where they lost to eventual All-Ireland winners Dripsey of Cork.
There is a lot more excitement and hope about the campaign this time though according to their manager Mickie Foley.
“The age profile of the team is the big thing. This is a very young side we have, not like the side a decade ago where we were relying on players touching 40. The average age of this team is 21 and in that we have four or five players who are 18 or 19. We really are hoping to give a good account of ourselves this year,” their manager said.
Their entry into the competition this year comes by virtue of being Kerry Intermediate winners and not solely based on winning the South Kerry Hurling Championship like has been usually what happens when one of the senior North Kerry sides wins the Intermediate grade.
“It definitely is way better to go into this having won the Intermediate as it gives you a lot more confidence. Shane O’Sullivan is the one player we are missing though as he is in America.
“We have Donal O’Sullivan, Gearóid Fennessy, Christopher Creedon, Liam Twomey and Daniel Casey playing third level Football matches this week, so we are hoping they all come through those okay before Saturday,” Foley said.
Kilgarvan defeated Lady’s Walk, Kilmoyley and Causeway to win the Intermediate this year as they were victorious over Dr Crokes in the South Kerry Hurling Final with their place in Munster already secured.
Their opponents Tournafulla won a much-publicised county decider with neighbouring Kilmeedy in the Treaty County to qualify for this event as Foley is happy with how preparations have gone in advance of Saturday.
“We had a very good challenge match with Ballinhassig of Cork recently and although we didn’t get to see the Limerick Final because the South Kerry Final was on the same day, we know that they have good forwards that are very fast.
“Seeing Lixnaw win does give you confidence about your own situation and we are going up there with every intention of trying to win.”
Kerry hurling wins have been achieved in Limerick in the recent past, Ballyduff defeating Ballybrown in Kilmallock in the Intermediate in 2012 and Kilmoyley also getting the better of Monaleen in the Gaelic Grounds two years ago in the same grade.
No Kerry Junior hurling representative have won a match outside of the county, with Kilgarvan’s wins in the 2007 and 2008 competitions at home still standing as the only time matches have been won by a Kingdom side full stop in this competition.
There is a big incentive on offer here though with home advantage in the semi-final against Ballinameela of Waterford the prize if they can win on Saturday.
There’s a confidence and momentum gathering about the Kenmare District side that they can pull off a big shock on Saturday.
However, they still have to do what has not been done before at this grade in a Kerry side managing to win outside of their own turf.