The draw for this year’s All-Ireland hurling quarter finals has taken place today. After losing to Galway in the Leinster final, Kilkenny will face Limerick, while Cork will take on their Munster rivals Waterford in the other quarter final. The games will take place on July 28/29 with venues yet to be confirmed.
Kilkenny and Limerick will meet for the first time since the 2007 All-Ireland final. After putting five goals past a fancied Waterford in the semi-final, the Treaty men were the underdogs against a Kilkenny side going for two in a row. After a good first half, Limerick ran out of steam losing the decider on a scoreline of 2-19 to 1-15. Andrew Shaughnessy finished with seven points, while Eddie Brennan was the top scorer with 1-5.
Kilkenny opened their account in Portlaoise where they blitzed Anthony Daly’s Dublin 2-21 to 0-9. Goals from Richie Power and T.J. Reid as well as ten points from Henry Shefflin proved far too strong for the Dubs and they went into the Leinster final odds on to make it their fourteenth title in sixteen years. Galway however tore up the form book and shocked the Cats on a scoreline of 2-21 to 2-11, with Kilkenny registering their first score from a free after twenty minutes.
Limerick have been gathering momentum as the season has progressed. Underdogs against Tipperary in the Munster quarter final they produced an impressive display and went toe-to-toe with the All-Ireland finalists before going down by four points.
Shane Dowling hit eight points while Graeme Mulcahy and Kevin Downes posed the Tipp defence a lot of problems. In the preliminary round of the qualifiers they had a facile twenty five point win over Laois, with Dowling again top-scorer with 1-8 while Niall Moran helped himself to a hat-trick. They ensure their place in the final eight of the All-Ireland series with a 3-20 to 1-20 win over neighbours Clare.
The clash of Cork and Waterford will renew what has become an intense rivalry over the past decade. The Rebels will be looking to atone for their Munster Final loss last year at the hands of the Deise, going down 1-16 to 1-13 after extra-time in the replay. The last clash outside of Munster between these two was the 2007 All-Ireland quarter final where Waterford came through on a scoreline of 2-17 to 0-20 after a replay.
Under the stewardship of Jimmy Barry Murphy this youthful Cork outfit have grown in confidence with each game. With the likes of John Gardiner, Sean Og O’hAilpin and Cathal Naughton failing to secure regular starting berths, and Donal Og out through injury, the manager has blooded a raft of younger players. The acquitted themselves admirably against Tipperary in the Munster semi-final, losing by a solitary point. Patrick Horgan, assuming the role as captain in Cusack’s absence led the way with eleven points, and could count themselves unlucky to have been pipped at the post. Offaly were first up in the qualifiers, and struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
They eventually ran out seven point winners, with nine players getting on the scoresheet, including goalkeeper Anthony Nash with two frees. Their passage to the quarter finals was booked with a 3-24 to 2-17 victory over Wexford in Thurles. Luke O’Farrell marked his return to the team with 2-2, and seventeen second half points was enough to send the Slaneysiders out of the championship.
Waterford opened their Munster account with a 2-17 to 1-18 win over Clare in a game that subsequently was overshadowed by comments picked up by RTE from Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald directed towards some Waterford players.
Maurice Shanahan led the way with seven points as nine different players got on the scoring act. On Sunday they faced Tipperary mindful of the seven goal mauling they received to the same opposition in last year’s final. The game was much tighter this time round, but the outcome was the same as the Deise paid the price for wayward shooting towards the end of the contest and lost by seven points on a scoreline of 2-17 to 0-16.