Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh into Munster club final

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh into Munster club final
NA Piarsaigh are back in the Munster club SHC final.

NA Piarsaigh are back in the Munster club SHC final.

The Limerick champions booked their place in the decider with a dramatic 0-20 to 3-9 win over Waterford’s Passage this Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds.

Champions in 2011, the Caherdavin men needed late points from Alan Dempsey and Kevin Downes to book a final place against either Cork’s Midleton or Clare’s Sixmilebridge on November 24.

Despite conceding two soft goals, Na Piarsaigh led 0-11 to 2-4 at half time.

They had four points from play from Kevin Downes to inspire a first half that also saw Michael Casey, Alan Dempsey and William O’Donoghue prominent.

The lead came despite five first half wides and three superb saves from Eddie Lynch in the Passage goal.

The first Passage goal came in the third minute when a long range shot for a point from Owen Connors slipped through the fingers of the unfortunate Padraic Kennedy in the Na Piarsaigh goal.

That had the Waterford side, who were missing inter-county man Noel Connors due to holidays, 1-1 to 0-1 up.

But the game was level 0-5 to 1-2 after 12-minutes with Downes and Adrian Breen leading the scoring charge for the ‘home’ side.

Na Piarsaigh then went 0-7 to 1-2 clear with four successive points.

But the Waterford side hit back with their second goal in the 24th minute.

Eoin Kelly was fouled for the penalty and he blasted to the net for a 2-4 to 0-8 lead.

But Downes, Pat Gleeson and Shane Dowling (free) sent Na Piarsaigh into the break with a one point lead.

Early second half scores had them 0-15 to 2-4 clear in front of just 1350 spectators.

Then came a John Whitty goal for Passage and furthers points saw the game level 0-15 to 2-6 with 10-minutes to play.

Passage then went ahead, 3-8 to 0-16 but Na Piarsaigh finished the stronger.

Level for the seventh time, the game looked to be heading for extra time until Dempsey and Downes (his sixth) snatched another dramatic win for the Limerick city side.

SCORERS: Na Piarsaigh: Kevin Downes 0-6, Shane Dowling 0-5 (3frees), Pat Gleeson, Adrian Breen 0-3 each, William O’Donoghue, Kieran Kennedy, Alan Dempsey 0-1 each. Passage: Owen Connors 1-4 (1free 2 ‘65), Eoin Kelly 1-1 (1-0pen), John Whitty 1-0, Killian Fitzgerald 0-2, Thomas Connors, Joe McClean 0-1 each.

NA PIARSAIGH: Padraic Kennedy; Niall Buckley, Cathal King, Michael Casey; Alan Dempsey, David Breen, James O’Brien; Shane Dowling, William O’Donoghue; Kieran Kennedy, Kevin Downes, David Dempsey; Kevin Ryan, Pat Gleeson, Adrian Breen. Subs: Brian Hartnett for James O’Brien (52mins), John Madden for Kieran Kennedy (52mins), Aidan Hennessy for Pat Gleeson (60mins).

PASSAGE: Eddie Lynch; Jason Roche, Mark Wyse, Joseph Upton; Pa Walsh, Stephen Mason, Mitchell Baldwin; Killian Fitzgerald, John Whitty; Owen Connors, Conor Carey, Thomas Connors; Rory Walsh, Eoin Kelly, Sean Hogan. Subs: Joe McClean for Rory Walsh (48mins).

REFEREE: Colm Lyons (Cork).