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09 Dec 2021

Rathdowney-Erill lose star forward to injury crux as senior hurling final places up for grabs

LAOIS SENIOR HURLING SEMI FINAL PREVIEWS

Rathdowney-Erill lose star forward to injury crux as senior hurling final places up for grabs

The semi finals of the Laois senior hurling championship are down for decision this Sunday and they are clashes that are sure to get the juices flowing.

Borris-Kilcotton and Camross will meet in the opening game in O'Moore Park on Sunday at 2pm while at 3.30pm, it is the turn of reigning champions Clough-Ballacolla and Rathdowney-Errill to go into battle.

It is hard to argue against the fact that the four best teams are left in the championship and all four will be full of confidence of making the final on the first weekend in November

Borris-Kilcotton have had a busy year. They started back earlier this year getting ready for the 2020 County final against Clough-Ballacolla and while that didn't go their way, it is impressive that they have bounced back from that and are at the business end of the championship again.

Camross didn't make the knockout stages last year but avoided a relegation final so there would have been no shortage of motivation there this year to get back competing at the top end of the championship.

Clough-Ballacolla have picked up where they left off and beaten all-comers so far this year while Rathdowney-Errill, under new manager Shane Keegan are also where they want to be despite going the long way around and having to navigate a tough semi final win over Rosenallis.

Borris-Kilcotton and Camross is extremely hard to call. Both have their main marksmen in PJ Scully for Borris-Kilcotton and Zane Keenan for Camross but they also have received good back up this year from the supporting cast.

Aaron Dunphy has been in great form alongside Scully while Mark Dowling, although quiet in their quarter final win over Castletown, had been scoring freely for Camross up until the quarter final.

Experience is all over the field for both of them also while there is no shortage of pace in either line up.
Anyone who could confidently call this one is threading a dangerous line. With so many variables at play, especially coming into bad weather, the phrase 'all on the day' was never more appropiate.

The second clash of Clough-Balacolla and Rathdowney-Errill is set to be an epic battle. That said, Rathdowney-Errill will be disappointed to have lost Mark Kavanagh through injury in their quarter final win over Rosenallis.

Having just battled back from a cruciate injury, he re-injured the same knee in the second half and is out of the semi final clash. Ross King has also been out injured but there is an outside chance that he will see action as he continues to recover from a shoulder problem.

Even without those two, they have plenty of firepower with Paddy Purcell, James Ryan, Dylan Carroll and Brandon McGinley all showing up well in recent games while Paddy McCane is also back in the mix.

Clough-Ballcolla are the favourites for the championship and rightfully so. Nothing has changed since their 2020 final win to say otherwise.

Stephen 'Picky' Maher is in super form while Willie Dunphy and Jordan Walshe are also scoring freely.
They are a team that look extremely comfortable in themselves and know what they are about, especially when the finish line is in sight.

It will also be a big weekend for the teams in the Premier Intermediate semi finals along with the Intermediate and Junior hurling finals.

The Premier Intermediate semi finals take place on Saturday evening with Ballinakill taking on Portlaoise and Ballyfin squaring up to Camross.

The Intermediate hurling final takes place on Friday between Trumera and Clough-Ballacolla while the Junior final on Saturday afternoon sees Abbeyleix and Ballypickas do battle.

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