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JJ Kavanagh & Sons Carlow SHC Round 3 Previews

Kevin Regan
July 13, 2023

St Mullins v MLR - Friday 14th of July, 7.30pm at Netwatch Cullen Park

Both sides enter this game with two wins from two.

Both sides also know that despite three more group games left they are already pretty much in a semi final.

You know my thoughts on that one already!

Last week saw MLR turn on the style in putting away Bagenalstown Gaels.

In that game Chris Nolan and Donagh Murphy contributed 4-10 between them which was equal to the sum total of what Bagenalstown offered up on the night.

This was despite being without some key players, but it must be stated that the same was true for the Town.

So my conclusion on this is as follows. If MLR hit that form with a full hand to pick from, then they are next to near unstoppable as we seen in the 2021 SHC Final win over Friday nights' opposition.

On the other hand St Mullins by either design or default have hit the ground running with comprehensive wins over Ballinkillen and Naomh Brid.

They won't be insulted when stating that this would be expected of them given the absence of some key Ballinkillen players and Naomh Brid still striving to make improvements.

However by the same token they can be a bit hap hazard in the early stages of the Championship, with their ability to peak at the knockout stages a well stated fact at this stage.

It's not fully known if much personnel changes will occur from last weekend and while we're kidding nobody in terms of trying to indicate that this game is life or death, they still tend to be games of big intrigue whenever they do collide.

Verdict: Draw

Naomh Eoin v Bagenalstown Gaels - Sunday 16th of July, 6pm at Netwatch Cullen Park

This game interests me as much if not more than the glamour tie of MLR.


There's a number of factors at play.

I believe that despite Naomh Eoin's disappointing defeat to Ballinkillen, they are making improvements and working on a template to introduce a brand of Hurling that looks like it could suit their personnel.

I've spoken already about their need to adapt in games and I believe that introducing a blend of this neat inter play with an occasional ball in around the house to JMN would lead to a more fruitful outcome and more food for thought for the opposition.

They have the speed to carry the ball but they also have big men around the field and the key thing is to get the most out of all of them.

The second thing that has me intrigued about this game is where Bagenalstown Gaels are at in their own minds at the minute.

They raised the bar in getting to last year's SHC Final and were tipped by many to win last week against MLR but didn't.

This increased hype and expectation is something that they will have to get more comfortable and familiar with.


Simple. They have the hurlers that are good enough. They don't tend to lack in confidence. They can produce a result against big teams unexpectedly.

But sometimes I feel they may fall foul to the hype surrounding them. Which is to be expected given the amount of newcomers that have made the successful step up to Senior and they are plying their trade at this level in the infancy years of their Adult Hurling careers.

This fixture is certainly one which they won't want to take for granted.

Myshall would love nothing more than knocking them back on their arses and I wouldn't think they're too fond of 'The Town' at the back of it, although that lack of love could well be reciprocated!

If Bagenalstown want to make a statement to make up for last week's disappointment then this is the time to do it. Naomh Eoin will be ready and waiting in the wings and will punish any form of complacency here.

If the real Bagenalstown turn up with the likes of Alfie, JP Treacy and a few more to return then you'd have to fancy them. If they aren't at their best then Naomh Eoin will be there to take advantage and are well capable of grabbing the points here.

Verdict: Bagenalstown

Ballinkillen v Naomh Brid - Sunday 16th of July, 7.30pm at Netwatch Cullen Park

Ballinkillen got back on track last week with an economical win over Naomh Eoin.

I describe it like this because they got the non negotiables spot on in terms of work rate, intensity and desire which led to lots of frees been won and lots of them converted by Eric English.

They also picked off some nice scores from play via Ruairi Dunbar, Jack Treacy and Sean Murphy.

I haven't seen Naomh Brid thus far but I like to think I'd know a little bit about them be it through coaching some of them at underage level and listening to Bambrick!

By all accounts (Bambrick's!) they hurled well against St Mullins and had some good spells against Bagenalstown.

They have one of the tidiest forwards in the county in Mikey Bambrick whose stick work is matched by agility and acceleration. He's in good company with county man Fiach O'Toole and another county man albeit different code in Aaron Amond.

Adam Dunne is consistent in defence while Andy Mulleney will make sure that no score is given away easily.

Ballinkillen have lots of threats up front with Treacy, Murphy, Craig Wall etc and the experienced duo of Dion Wall and David English offer that steadiness in defence.

I don't feel that this is a cake walk by any means for the Blue and Gold. We know what they can do. But can they do it consistently?

This is not one to be taking for granted against an improving side. Can the men in maroon sneak the points here?

Verdict - Ballinkillen