NA Piarsaigh are back in the final of the Limerick’s Live 95FM sponsored county senior hurling championship thanks to a 0-20 to 0-15 win over Patrickswell in the semi-final on Sunday.
The Caherdavin club lost heavily to Adare in the decider of 2009 and then last season were again well beaten by eventual champions Kilmallock in the semi-final stage.
But this season the Light Blues are a different proposition with many of their young stars coming of age.
Centre forward David Breen was sent off for a second yellow card in the 41st minute and at the time Patrickswell led 0-11 to 0-8 after playing with the strong wind in the first half.
But the dismissal galvanised Na Piarsiagh and they were to hit nine successive second-half points in a hugely impressive display.
They were not at their best in the opening half when the Gary Kirby and Brian Lohan managed Patrickswell led 0-11 to 0-5 at the interval.
Kevin Downes had Na Piarsaigh off the mark with two fine points inside the opening minutes but then The Well took over with all bar one of their attack on the scoresheet by half time.
Indeed Na Piarsaigh failed to score from play after the opening five minutes of the half with all primary possession going the way of Patrickswell, who were looking to build on their quarter-final win over champions Kilmallock.
They even had two long range frees from goalkeeper Brian Murray in a first half that saw Mark Carmody and fellow young guns Tommy O’Brien, Tom Nolan and Lar Considine lead the way.
But they also hit eight first-half wides which were to prove crucial.
But after a lacklustre first half, Na Piarsaigh came to life on the change of ends.
Shane Dowling, Cathal King and Shane O’Neill fired over within four minutes of the resumption to lay down a marker for the men from the Ennis Road.
Then came the sending off of Breen. His colleagues could have thrown in the towel but they increased their work rate and this ultimately won the day.
King and Downes (2) scored to cut the advantage and, after Kevin Ryan equalised, a long range Dowling free had Na Piarsaigh ahead entering the final quarter.
The all action style of Patrickswell was now a distant memory and further scores from placed balls from Dowling had Sean Stack’s men 0-14 to 0-11 ahead with eight minutes to play.
Finally 22 minutes into the second half, The Well re-opened their account when Tommy O’Brien scored.
Similar to their shock semi-final over Kilmallock, Patrickswell went in search of late scores and had the lead down to one, 0-15 to 0-14 with five to play.
But it was Na Piarsaigh that finished stronger and Downes (2) and Dowling (free) sealed the win.
Ahane and Emmets drew in the other semi-final and will replay next Sunday - see match report on Page 30
SCORERS – Na Piarsaigh: Shane Dowling 0-8 (6frees, 2 ’65), Kevin Downes 0-5, Kevin Ryan 0-3, Cathal King 0-2, David Breen, Shane O’Neill 0-1 each. Patrickswell: Mark Carmody (2frees), Sean O’Brien 0-3 each, Lar Considine, Brian Murray (2frees), Tommy O’Brien (1free) 0-2 each, Barry Foley, Eoin Foley, Paul O’Grady 0-1 each.
NA PIARSAIGH – Padraig Kennedy; Aidan Hennessy, Kieran Breen, Kieran Bermingham; Alan Dempsey, James O’Brien, Brian Hartnett; Cathal King, Pat Gleeson; Shane Dowling, David Breen, Kevin Ryan; Adrian Breen, Shane O’Neill, Kevin Downes. Subs: Brian Shannon for Aidan Hennessy, inj (19mins), David Lynch for Kieran Bermingham (51mins), Robert Sheehan for Adrian Breen (51mins), John Madden for Shane O’Neill (61mins).
PATRICKSWELL - Brian Murray; Kelvin Lynch, Pa Mann, James Carrig; Thomas Nolan, James Mann, Peter O’Reilly; Paul O’Grady, Tommy O’Brien; Mark Carmody, Eoin Foley, Barry Foley; Kevin O’Brien, Sean O’Brien, Lar Considine. Subs: Peter Harty for Kevin O’Brien (48mins), Jack Kelleher for Eoin Foley (58mins).
REFEREE – Mike Meade (Ballylanders