It is over three months since a ball was struck in the Kilkenny senior and intermediate leagues/championships. The delay was understandable given Kilkenny’s long route through the inter-county senior championship.
Nevertheless, every club in both grades will be delighted to get back into action after a summer spent playing challenges and the Byrne/Aylward Cup competitions. To the credit of the County Board the members of the Kilkenny senior squad were given a few weeks to acclimatise to club training with the fourth round games deferred until this weekend.
The involvement of the Kilkenny minor and intermediate sides in All-Ireland semi-finals was another factor. With two rounds remaining before the knock-out stages, results in these games will be eagerly awaiting.
After such a long wait it is difficult to know how teams will perform. Some players headed off to the US for the summer and even if they have returned to Ireland, the 60-day rule may disqualify some from playing this weekend.
Depending on when they went to the US, most are likely to be eligible for the final round of the league. This is a new issue for certain clubs because it is some time since intermediate and senior club league games were played in late August.
I am sure some supporters will be surprised to see players on the sideline wondering why they are not playing. Most will probably never have heard of the 60-day rule.
James Stephens has a healthy three points lead over all the other teams in Group A (senior) with the chasing pack closely grouped together. The Village look assured of a top two spot unless they collapse. I do not expect that to happen.
It is still a lottery as who will get the second spot with Carrickshock the likely favourites.
Four teams are on four points in Group B (senior) with Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) and Dicksboro needing to make up some ground over the final two rounds. They play each other on Sunday in Freshford.
The big clash in this group sees the top two sides, Ballyhale Shamrocks and O’Loughlin Gaels in opposition in Callan. This is a big occasion for the John Lockes club as it will be the first game in their newly developed grounds and complex.
The development was a massive undertaking by the Callan club and everyone involved deserves enormous credit for bringing the project to a successful conclusion. Our congratulations to all.
The occasion deserves to have two of Kilkenny’s finest clubs take to the pitch and the winner will most likely top the group at the end of the league series of games.
Group A in the Intermediate grade is wide open and the picture will become a little clearer after this coming weekend’s games.
I expect the Rower Inistioge to top Group B (intermediate) but aside from Tullogher Rosbercon who are still without a win, there is little between the other sides in this group.
It has been a very long wait for the senior and intermediate clubs to get back into serious action. I am sure the wait will be worthwhile with lots of exciting games over the coming weekend.
Finally well done to everyone involved with the Kilkenny senior camogie side after their deserved win over Cork last weekend. The men may have momentarily stepped aside and now it is the ladies turn to grab the headlines.