Na Piarsaigh boss: ‘I expected to win the All Ireland’

BACK in 2009 Na Piarsaigh suffered county final heartbreak on a number of fronts but confident in their own abilty the club came back stronger than ever.

BACK in 2009 Na Piarsaigh suffered county final heartbreak on a number of fronts but confident in their own abilty the club came back stronger than ever.

Now captain Kieran Bermingham is hoping that they can again learn a harsh lesson.

“We all love hurling and its part of our life – we will lick our wounds and the skin will grow again and we will come back thirsty again for more,” he said outside a heartbroken Na Piarsaigh dressing room.

“The pride and the belief is still in the room and it just gives the club something else to aim for. We are bitterly disappointed – we had two chances and two bites of the cherry and we took neither,” he sighed.

“We have been saying all week that this team were not to be underestimated and to be fair to them they outscored us and they are in the final and we are not - It didn’t really happen for us today but I am so proud of the way we fought back.

“We said all week that we would empty the pot and keeping going and going and what ever would be would be - it just didn’t happen today on the scoreboard”.

“It’s tough to take – we really really thought that one sweet performance and we could get there and we just have to go back and circle the wagons and try again,” said the corner back who was dismissed for a second yellow card in the game’s final minute.

Manager Sean Stack echoed the words of the captain.

“It’s a run that you might never get again and that’s the sad thing. I played in one All-Ireland semi-final and thought they would come every second year but never again saw one,” explained the Sixmilebridge man.

“The fact that Loughgiel were here last year and beaten by O’Loughlin Gaels that stood to them. They grinded it out and they had the Liam Watson factor – you would think they we would have a Liam Watson in Kevin Downes or Shane Dowling or someone but Liam Watson is around a fair few years and he is a serious operator,” said Stack.

“You would imagine that you have all avenues covered but we had a bit of a weak belly at times there today which is very disappointing for us because we fought so hard all year to get rid of any little bit of mental weakness that we had - We had a few one handed hurlers today and thats disappointing,” said the manager.

Stack said that they felt they were in the right place ahead of the start of extra-time.

“I felt really confident and felt that the lads were really up for it and had energy in their legs but Loughgiel were real tough and determined. They deseve their place in the final, there is not doubt – we were lucky to draw it in normal time.”

It’s a harsh lesson for Na Piarsiagh, but one Stack wants all to learn from.

“We are hoping they will – four of our forwards were U-21 and one of them is just out of minor and three of our backs are U-21 and maybe we were expecting too much. I expected to win the All-Ireland but maybe my expectations were too high for a bunch of young fellas.”