A goal from Adrian Breen with less than three minutes remaining was the key score as Na Piarsaigh claimed an historic Munster club title with a 1-13 to 0-9 win over Crusheen in Thurles.
The Limerick champions looked to be out of contention as they trailed 0-9 to 0-6 midway through the second half. But after wasting a good few scoreable chances, they found their range when it mattered most and rattled off 1-7 without reply to win with an emphatic burst.
The win marks another good day in a fine year for Limerick hurling. As well as Ard Scoil Ris winning the Harty Cup and Limerick winning the Munster U-21 title, the clubs have carried the flag well too. Effin claimed the Munster intermediate title and Cappamore have a chance of doing a Limerick treble on the club scene.
Na Piarsaigh can celebrate this now and face Ulster champions Loughiel Shamrocks in the All Ireland semi-final in February. Coolderry (Offaly) and Gort (Galway) are in the other semi-final.
The replayed final win over Crusheen caps a remarkable year for the city outfit which has won all before it on the Limerick club front in 2011. Na Piarsaigh raced into a useful 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes but Crusheen settled and led 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.
On the restart, the Clare champions again found scores easier to come by but Na Piarsaigh kept at it and were rewarded when Kevin Downes set Breen up for the winning goal.
SCORERS – Na Piarsaigh: Adrian Breen 1-3, Shane Dowling 0-3 (two frees, one ‘65), Kevin Downes, David Breen 0-2 each, Cathal King, Kevin Ryan, Kieran Kennedy 0-1 each. Crusheen: Jamie Fitzgibbon 0-4, Pat Vaughan 0-3 (two frees), Tony Meaney, David Forde 0-1 each.
NA PIARSAIGH – Padraic Kennedy; David Lynch, Kieran Breen, Kieran Bermingham (Capt); Alan Dempsey, James O’Brien, Brian Hartnett; Cathal King, Pat Gleeson; Shane Dowling, David Breen, Kevin Ryan; Kieran Kennedy, Kevin Downes, Shane O’Neill. Subs: Adrian Breen for Gleeson (27 mins), Aidan Hennessy for Bermingham (39 mins), John Madden for O’Neill (47 mins).
CRUSHEEN – Donal Touhy; John Brigdale, Cronan Dillon, Alan Brigdale; Ciaran O’Doherty, Cian Dillon, Cathal Dillon; Pat Vaughan, Tony Meaney; Gearoid O’Donnell, Jamie Fitzgibbon, David Forde; Patrick Meaney, Gerard O’Grady, Fergus Kennedy. Subs: Conor O’Donnell for Forde (43 mins), Joseph Meaney for Tony Meaney (51 mins).
REF - Cathal McAllister (Cork)
- FOR A FULL REPORT, SEE THE MONDAY EDITION OF THE LIMERICK LEADER