With the club championships gathering pace as they hit the provincial stages, teams all around the country are coming back down to earth after their respective county titles and begin to dream a bit bigger. We ranked the teams left in the hunt in Munster Club Hurling Championship two weeks ago. Now, as the Leinster competition takes shape, we look at the lay of the land.
7. Castletown Geoghegan
You can’t help but be impressed with the trajectory of Westmeath hurling right now. Castletown Geoghegan will be eager to see that rise continue with a run in Leinster, after dethroning Raharney in the county final.
However, they’re thrown in at the deep end, with a date with Offaly champions Kilcormac/Killoughey in Tullamore.
Having sealed a 25th Laois title, Camross look to push on once again, and in Zane Keenan they boast a top class talent.
They boasted nine different scorers in their county final win over Clough-Ballacolla, displaying a dynamic attack.
Camross welcome Mount Leinster Rangers to O’Moore Park in the quarter-final, and will quietly fancy their chances of turning over the Carlow champions.
5. Mount Leinster Rangers
The Carlow champions reached the All-Ireland final in 2014, going on a remarkable run before ultimately falling to Portumna. They haven’t won the Carlow SHC again until this year, but they know what it takes to put together a run in the Leinster Championship.
They’re on a favourable side of the draw, and just like 2013/14, nobody will give them much of a chance, which suits them down to the ground.
The newly crowned Kilkenny champions will savour their victory, after claiming their first title in 24 years. However, they’re being thrown into the deep end straight away, with a trip to Parnell Park to take on Cuala this Sunday.
Cillian Buckley excelled in the backs, as they notched up 4-15 against James Stephens. However, they will need to tighten up in defence if they are to have any chance of avoiding the fate of the previous two Kilkenny champions who fell to Cuala.
3. St Martin’s
The Wexford champions have a bye to the semi-final, as they await the winners of Cuala vs Dicksboro. Having ended Oulart’s dominance in Wexford, St Martin’s will now set their sights on the provincial crown.
With Willie Devereux, Daithí Waters and Rory O’Connor leading the charge, they could pack a punch in this competition.
Offaly representatives are always a major threat in this competition, far more so than on the intercounty scene.
Placed on the opposite side of the draw to the Dublin, Kilkenny and Wexford champions, Kilcormac/Killoughey will quietly fancy their chances.
They went all the way to the All-Ireland final in 2013, beating Mount Leinster Rangers, Oulart The Ballagh and Thurles Sarsfields along the way. They have the experience at the top level, and won’t be afraid of any side.
The reigning champions are the team to beat once again this year. Having captured their third consecutive Dublin title, the Dalkey outfit will refocus as they look to defend their provincial crown.
Colm Cronin and Seán Moran have been key figures for Mattie Kenny’s outfit of late. The intercounty experience of Cian O’Callaghan, Oisin Gough and Paul Schutte in the backs keeps them rigid, while the firepower of David Treacy, Con O’Callaghan and Mark Schutte up front mean they’re the favourites to land another Leinster title.