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25 Jun 2022

Offaly Senior “B” Hurling Championship teams profiled

Offaly Senior “B” Hurling Championship teams profiled

Lusmagh's Eimhin Kelly is recovering from a broken collar bone.

Clara

Manager – Brian Gavin

Selectors - Enda Stones, Keith Handy, Stephen Weir, Jim McGrath;

Captain – Not picked;

Star player – Josh Fleming

Last year – Beaten semi-finalists

New players – Barry Egan, Marcas Dalton, James Dunne

Absentees from last year – Colm Doyle is travelling to Dubai and it looks like he will be out while Graham Guilfoyle has opted out because of work commitments.

Prospects – Clara did very well to reach the semi-final last year and gave Tullamore plenty of food for thought. While football is their main game, they have a very capable hurling team and are eager to impress. They will fancy their chances of making the semi-finals again, though it could go either way. They have an outside chance in this championship.


Kilcormac-Killoughey

Manager – Mark Leonard

Selectors - Daithi Nolan, PJ Murray and Paddy Byrne 

Captain – Shane Guinan

Star player – Shane Guinan

Last year – Bowed out in the group

New players - Jimmy Kavanagh, Tadhg Donoghue, Alex Kavanagh and Colin Spain

Absentees from last year – None

Prospects – Kilcormac-Killoughey have a chance in this championship. They have a huge pool of talent at their disposal, a lot of very good players who won't make their senior team. They were close to reaching the semi-final last year, almost putting eventual champions Clodiagh Gaels out and they are contenders. It is hard for a second team to win this competition but K-K could buck that trend. They aren't favourites but they should make the semi-finals and they won't be far away.


Lusmagh

Manager – Vincent McKenna, Borrisokane

Selectors – Brendan Kelly and Pat Temple;

Captain – Not named yet

Star player – Eimhin Kelly

Last year – Beaten semi-finalists

New players – Daire Temple, an Offaly minor panelist in 2021 is now eligible along with Ronan Minnock and Luke Cooke.

Absentees from last year – Lumagh's key player Eimhin Kelly broke his collar bone recently and he will be a massive loss.

Prospects – Lusmagh have a huge desire to do well and they are capable of beating any team on their day. Unfortunately for them, they could lose to any of them as well and that is Lusmagh's problem. They are good but consistency is an issue. The loss of Eimhin Kelly in their early games could be devastating but they will still challenge for a knockout place. They have plenty of work to do to win this championship.


Tullamore

Manager – Edwin Finnerty

Selectors - Adrian Mordon, Davin, Killian Bane and John Rouse; Backroom team, Tom Fox and Sean McCann

Captain – Ger Crowe

Star player – Shane Dooley

Last year – Beaten finalists

New players - None

Absentees from last year – James Houlihan and Peter Fox are abroad and Cormac Egan is recovering from a long term hamstring injury;

Prospects – Tullamore are serious championship contenders. They were well fancied last year but fell a cropper against Clodiagh Gaels in the final and they should be very strong this year. They are a dual club and hurling is behind football in the club's overall priorities. They nonetheless have a strong hurling fraternity and a few players who have the game as their first choice or only game. Former players Peter Kelly and Stephen Egan jnr did resign as joint managers some weeks ago – they had replaced 1990s hero Kevin Martin and that type of managerial musical chairs does raise questions. They are the starter's favourites for the championship but this is very much in the marginal category. They could win it but there are plenty of doubts about them and this championship is wide open – Tullamore should be good enough to qualify for the semi-finals and they will be close.


Birr

Manager - Johnny Kelly

Selectors - Kevin Donovan and Colm 'Cha' Cahill

Captain - Mick Mulrooney

Star player – Mick Mulrooney;

Last year – Intermediate champions

New players - Paul Cleary, Eoin Pilkington

Absentees from last year - Campbell Boyd and Eoin Hayes are likely to play Senior ‘A after last year’s intermediate success'.

Prospects – It will be interesting to see how Birr compete in this championship. It is a bit of a step up from intermediate and Birr's title prospects are in the outside category. They should, however, be capable of winning games and a semi-final place is a possibility.


Drumcullen

Manager - David Sullivan from Lorrha, Co Tipperary

Selectors - Peter Lyons and Declan Murray

Captain - Conor Gath and John Cashin

Star player – Colm Gath

Last year – Relegated from senior

New players - Currently Kevin Fleury is injured long term and Joe McCarthy returned this year from army duty but is out for a while now with a broken finger.

Absentees from last year - Brian Pardy and Patrick Carroll

Prospects – Drmcullen are championship contenders but there is uncertainty around their prospects. They were relegated from senior last year and we will just have to wait and see what way they are going. They should make the semi-finals but it is possible that they could end up in relegation trouble. The fitness and availability of Colm Gath is key to them. Gath opted out of the Offaly senior hurling panel this year to give sprinting a go and coaches at Tullamore Harriers have been excited by his speed, ability and potential. Drumcullen are hoping he will hurl for them and he is doing a delicate balancing act with athletics, hurling and managing injury at the moment – he may be unavailable for their first round game this weekend. They can't afford many injuries or losses and you wouldn't put a lot of money on them making an instant return to senior but they will be hard beaten.

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