EFFIN’S dreams of All Ireland glory were dashed in Birr on Sunday when they were beaten by Armagh champions Middletown Na Fianna by 3-14 to 2-10.
Labouring in the junior ranks just over two seasons ago the small south Limerick club have put back-to-back county titles together to rise straight from junior to senior.
They will now turn their attentions to a first ever season in the top flight of Limerick club hurling.
In this semi-final in St Brendan’s Park in Birr, Effin played second fiddle for long periods against the Armagh senior champions.
Indeed with 20 minutes to go, Effin trailed 3-10 to 0-7 to the Ulster champions. But back came Effin with two goals from Limerick senior goalkeeper Nicke Quaid and had the gap reduced to five points with 12 minutes to play. But they couldn’t find another goal to really rattle an impressive Armagh side. Wind-assisted Na Fianna led 1-9 to 0-6 at half-time. Thomas Quaid just about kept Effin in touch with five first half frees.
Two goals inside 60 seconds from the northern side killed the game in the sixth minute of the second period. Effin did make a game of it with the two scrambled goals from Quaid but Na Fianna never looked like losing the lead.
SCORES - Effin: Nickie Quaid 2-0, Thomas Quaid 0-7 (all frees), Hugh O’Neill 0-2, Damien Moloney 0-1. Middletown Na Fianna: David Carvill 0-5 (all frees), Martin Moan 1-2, Cathal Carvill,Conor McCann 1-0 each, Barney McCann, Ryan Gaffney 0-2 (1free) 0-2 each, Fintan Woods, Martin Maguire Shea Gaffney 0-1 each.
EFFIN – James O’Leary; John O’Donnell, John Dillon, Andrew Dillon; Michael O’Donnell, Nickie Quaid, Michael Rea; James O’Donnell, Patrick Carroll; Conor Kearney, Damien Moloney, Pierse O’Kelly; Hugh O’Neill, Thomas Quaid, Timmy Rea. Subs: Darren Sheehy for Pierse O’Kelly (28mins), John Mike Manning for Michael Rea (32mins).
MIDDLETOWN NA FIANNA – Padraig Moan; Brian Mallon, Pauric Hughes, Fintan Woods; Kiernan McKernan, Nathan Curry, Paul Gaffney; Barney McCann, Paddy McBride; Martin Maguire, Conor McCann, David Carvill; Cathal Carvill, Ryan Gaffney, Martin Moan. Subs: Ned McCann for David Carroll (39mins), Paddy McArdle for Paul Gaffney (43mins), Shea Gaffney for Conor McCann (48mins), Paul Curry for Martin Maguire (58mins), JJ Hughes for Brian Mallon (59mins).
REFEREE - Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)