confidence is high in Caherdavin that Na Piarsaigh can win the county hurling title for a third time.
Children at Christ the King National School donned sky blue this Wednesday as they got ready for Sunday afternoon’s showpiece on home turf.
The school was adorned with flags, and sky-blue bunting as teachers and students alike got ready to cheer on their heroes in the hope they can recapture the trophy they last won in 2013.
A number of former students of the school will line out for Na Piarsaigh this Sunday, including goalkeeper Paudge Kennedy and Shane Dowling, plus recent under-21 All-Ireland winners David and Alan Dempsey, and Mike and Peter Carey.
School hurling coach Shane O’Neill said the students in the boys’ school regard the players as role models.
He said: “Even when our boys go down to Na Piarsaigh to train, they see Shane Dowling and all the other top stars, including Kevin Downes. They all passed through the school, so there is a great link-up, and it gives them people to look up to when they go on to bigger and hopefully better things in secondary school.”
Asked how he thought Na Piarsaigh would get on, Shane said: “I’d be confident. I know Patrickswell have come out of nowhere a bit, but they are a new team to the final. I’d be confident we would be the winners on Sunday because of the team we have, and their experiences over the last number of years.”
Among the students, there was huge confidence of Na Piarsaigh toppling their county Limerick rivals.
Eleven-year-old JJ Carey from Caherdavin confidently predicted: “I think we will win by a lot – by at least five points”.
John Fitzgerald, 11, from Aylesbury, thinks the winning margin will be slightly less, predicting a two-point victory for the local side.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Patrick O’Neill of Coolraine Heights said he has fond memories of when the side last won the county final in 2013.
“It was amazing when they came into the school with the trophies. I love Na Piarsaigh,” he smiled.
Asked his favourite player, Patrick said: “Shane Dowling, because I play in the same position as him - full forward.”
Shane Kelly, 11, from Caherdavin Lawn, said his favourite player is Paudge Kennedy, “because he plays in goal like me”.
Adam Long, Brookfield Avenue, declared: “I love the way Na Piarsaigh play. They are really good, really attacking.”
Meanwhile, the bravest boy in Christ the King this week was surely young Sean Connelly, 6, who risked playground jibes by donning a Patrickswell shirt.
The youngster - whose uncle is under-21 captain Diarmaid Byrnes - went against the grain by declaring that Patrickswell would win - despite 299 of his friends declaring otherwise!
As the Limerick Leader left Christ the King school, we are bid farewell by the chant of ‘Na Piarsaigh Abú!’. Expect to hear a lot more of this from the stands on Sunday!
Throw-in is at 3pm on Sunday.