The race for the Walsh Cup is heating up as the last four clubs chase senior hurling honours.
The county will have its own Super Sunday this weekend as Nowlan Park hosts a double header in the senior hurling championship.
The action begins at 2pm, when the reigning All-Ireland intermediate club champions Clara take on St Martin’s (Muckalee-Ballyfoyle). Clara have been the form team in Kilkenny this year. They had an impressive league campaign including a victory over Ballyhale Shamrocks - their only loss was a single point defeat to Erin’s Own (Castlecomer). The only blot on Clara’ copybook to date has been their inability to find the net. They have only scored three goals in league and championship to date.
St Martin’s had a strong finish to the league, recording two wins in their final games. They brought that good form into the quarter-final, where they accounted for a fancied James Stephens side.
While the opening game will be a cracker the second, which sees a meeting of Southern neighbours Ballyhale Shamrocks and Carrickshock at 3.30pm, will surely provide more fireworks. Both teams, who are laced with inter-county stars, have had their injury problems with Michael Fennelly being the noted absentee for Ballyhale, who are the reigning county champions.
However, a feature of the Shamrocks’ recent games has been the return to form of Henry Shefflin. With Shefflin’s play-making proving first-rate, their ability to score crucial goals has been prevalent.
Carrickshock have not been found wanting in the goal department either. They were the leading scorers in the league, racking up an impressive 10-84 in their five games. Like Ballyhale they are also suffering on the injury front with county star Michael Rice missing for their last two outings. Former county star John Tennyson suffered what looked like a nasty shoulder injury in the quarter-final but both players will do everything possible to be ready for this mouth-watering clash.
With the draw for next year’s Leinster championship now made and Kilkenny’s management team in place since September the focus is very much on the 2014 championship. No doubt the management team, which has newcomers Derek Lyng and James McGarry installed as selectors, will be casting their eyes over events in the ’Park on Sunday.
Admission on Sunday and for the remaining Sundays in October will be €15 (adults) and €10 (students and pensioners). Admission for under-16s is free. Admission for adults is by ticket only. These will be on sale at the usual kiosks outside the ground. Cash will be accepted at the designated student and pensioner stiles.