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Friday 22 February 2019

Who are Graigue-Ballycallan

Diarmuid Sheehan

Charleville play Graigue-Ballycallan in the AIB All Ireland Intermediate Hurling semi-final this Saturday at Semple Stadium, Thurles, with the throw in set for 2pm - and hurling fans from both parishes and beyond just cannot wait.

The form book suggests that there is little to separate the sides, but who are Graigue-Ballycallan and what do they bring to the table.

Those that would dismiss the chances of any Kilkenny and Leinster Championship winning side would be found out more often than not and this weekend the same applies.

Seeing off Tullaroan on a score line of 2-16 to 2-13 to win their county Championship was a huge achievement for all at Graigue-Ballycallan, but to go on and first take out Fethard St Mogue's of Wexford in the Leinster Intermediate Club Semi Final 2-22 to 1-12 which was followed by an historic win over Portlaoise in the provincial showpiece game a few weeks later.

While many of the names associated with the Leinster challengers will be unfamiliar to those supporting the men in red one name stands out as hurling legend Eddie Brennan is an integral part of what is a hugely successful and dangerous side.

Brennan may well have just past the 40 mark, but his eye for goal hasn't wavered one bit with goals in the Leinster semi-final and final already to his name in this campaign. Aaron Brennan is another to have shown well this season while free taker is Conor Murphy's is a real threat from play and more importantly from placed balls, while Seán Ryan is another that can cause serious trouble to a back six not prepared to put in the hard yards.

Overall Graigue-Ballycallan will not fear Charleville and won't be one bit put out by what the Cork champions bring to the table and the fact that some bookmakers have the Rebel side as favourites to progress will surely be another motivating factor for Brennan and his bunch of merry men.

Graigue-Ballycallan will bring plenty to the table this weekend and Charleville will need to play to their best to win what I believe is the battle of the two title favourites.

Corkman

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