Thurles Sarsfields' Pádraic Maher pictured contesting for the ball with Kiladangan's Darragh Egan during the 2016 county final.
The draw for the 2017 Tipperary Water County Senior Hurling Championship was made in the Sarsfield Centre in Thurles, the home of the county senior hurling champions Thurles Sarsfields, on Monday evening. In recent weeks the senior clubs have been busy putting together their respective management teams in preparation for the year ahead. And, this draw, along with the details of the senior football and intermediate hurling championships, will help to focus the minds of players up and down the county.
The draw for the groups in Roinn I is as follows:-
Group one: Kiladangan, Borris-Ileigh, Upperchurch-Drombane and Loughmore-Castleiney.
Group two: Clonoulty-Rossmore, Drom & Inch, Portroe and Ballina.
Group three: Thurles Sarsfields, Kilruane MacDonagh’s, Nenagh Éire Óg and Carrick Swan.
Group four: Killenaule, Mullinahone, Éire Óg Annacarty and Burgess.
In Roinn I the 16 participating teams are divided into four seeded groups with each side playing each group member. Following three rounds of games each group winner qualifies for the county quarter-finals while each group runner-up battles it out with the divisional champions in the preliminary quarter-finals. The last placed teams in each group play-off in two games with the individual game losers demoted to Roinn II for 2018.
Thurles Sarsfields are, of course, chasing a fourth consecutive county title in 2017 and have already been installed as favourites to collect a 36th Dan Breen Cup. And, Thurles Sarsfields have added two significant names to their management in time for the 2017 championship.
As expected Tommy Maher (manager) and Paddy McCormack (coach) have returned to the fold, but Mullinahone’s Eoin Kelly and Sarsfields stalwart Johnny Enright have also been added to the ticket. Such appointments are sure to bring a new energy to the Thurles camp. Although Johnny Enright retired from club hurling a number of years ago Eoin Kelly’s 2016 campaign came to a conclusion in October 2016 due to a misfortunate cruciate ligament injury. It has not been revealed, as of yet, whether the 2010 All-Ireland winning captain intends to play competitive hurling for Mullinahone in 2017.
The week-ending Sunday, April 9th is a reasonable assumption as a date for the opening round of games in the senior hurling championship - readers are asked, however, to remain cognizant of the fact that Tipperary Allianz National Hurling League campaign and the performance of Liam Kearns’ footballers could impact on said date.
SÉAMUS Ó RIAIN CUP (ROINN II)
There is a significant change to the format of Roinn II for the coming season. The teams, similarly to Roinn I, will be divided into four groups with the group winners and runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals of the Ó Riain Cup. The winner of that round of games qualifies for the semi-finals of the Ó Riain Cup while both finalists are promoted to Roinn I for 2018.
The only way for Roinn II teams to compete for the Dan Breen Cup in 2017 is by winning their respective divisional championship and thereby qualify for a preliminary quarter-final against a second-placed team from a Roinn I group with a place in the outright quarter-finals up for grabs.
The draw for the 2017 groups in Roinn II is as follows:-
Group one: Roscrea, Ballingarry, Toomevara and Newport.
Group two: Templederry Kenyons, Moycarkey-Borris and Silvermines.
Group three: JK Bracken’s, Borrisokane and Clonakenny.
Group four: Lorrha-Dorrha, Holycross-Ballycahill and Knockavilla-Kickhams.
INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
The draw was also made on Monday evening for the 2017 Tipperary Water County Intermediate Hurling Championship.
This year 21 teams compete at the intermediate grade. The competition structure will feature the champions of the respective divisional series while it will also feature an all-county group system (three groups of four and three groups of three - two teams will qualify for the knock-out stage of competition from the four-team groups while one team will qualify from the three-team groups).
The draw for the groups is as follows:-
Group one: Thurles Sarsfields, Golden-Kilfeacle, Gortnahoe-Glengoole and Ballinahinch.
Group two: Moneygall, Roscrea and Drom & Inch.
Group three: Moyne Templetuohy, St Mary’s Clonmel and Boherlahan-Dualla.
Group four: Seán Treacy’s, Shannon Rovers, Carrick Davins and Cashel King Cormacs.
Group five: Lattin-Cullen Gaels, Cappawhite, Kiladangan and Arravale Rovers.
Group six: Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Galtee Rovers and Moyle Rovers.
SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Tipperary Water County Senior Football Championship draw featured 16 teams in all with Loughmore-Castleiney, Clonmel Commercials, Moyle Rovers and Kilsheelan-Kilcash seeded.
The divisional champions will also feature in the knock-out stage of the senior football championship.
The draw for the groups is as follows:-
Group one: Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Drom & Inch, JK Bracken’s and Killenaule.
Group two: Moyle Rovers, Arravale Rovers, Aherlow Gaels and Fethard.
Group three: Loughmore-Castleiney, Galtee Rovers, Éire Óg Annacarty and Ardfinnan.
Group four: Clonmel Commercials, Ballyporeen, Cahir & Upperchurch-Drombane.