SHC Quarter-Final Preview

Pearses take on 2006 County Champions Loughrea, in the second of the Senior Hurling Quarter-Finals, tomorrow at 12pm in Kenny Park, Athenry. This is the first meeting of the two clubs in the Championship since 1994, when Loughrea came out on top. This time around however, the tables seem to be more evenly balanced. Pearses, of course, have won all five Championship games to date, while Loughrea are also unbeaten, defeating Liam Mellows, Craughwell (twice) and Kinvara, while drawing with Castlegar.
Loughrea have been in the Knockout stages of the Senior Championship for the last 10 years running. Will their experience count for or against them? Pearses come into this game full of confidence, with their 100% record and knowing how close they came to toppling Gort at the same stage last year. Beagh upset the odds last weekend, with their ferocious intensity, stunning Turloughmore. Loughrea will be on their guard to such an ambush from our men, but Pearses defeated Beagh earlier in the Championship and are capable producing a similar giant-killing.
Manager John Raftery’s only casualty is Tommy McDonagh, who recently picked up a knee injury ruling him out for the rest of the year. Kerrill Hardiman and Emmet Ward are back to fitness, after their hand injuries and County Minor, Ronan Bellew, is likely to start. It also remains to be seen where Cyril Donnellan will be deployed, as he is crucial to Pearses’ chances. Best of luck to the lads and here’s hoping they can reach our club’s first ever County Senior Hurling Semi-Final.
Here’s the 1994 team that took on Loughrea in Kiltormer, for the nostalgic among you: P Burns, T O’Grady, S O’Neill, N Carr, J Carr, S Lawless, J Jenkins, Tony O’Brien, M Carr, K Ryan, D Hillary, J Fahy, K Hillary, Tom O’Brien, M O’Brien.