Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh advance in Munster club

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

David Dempsey, Na Piarsaigh, celebrates after scoring the winning goal v  Loughmore-Castleiney
NA Piarsaigh advanced to the semi-finals of the Munster club championship with a 3-17 to 2-18 win over Loughmore-Castleiney this Sunday in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

NA Piarsaigh advanced to the semi-finals of the Munster club championship with a 3-17 to 2-18 win over Loughmore-Castleiney this Sunday in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

The Limerick senior hurling champions now play Waterford winners Passage in the provincial semi-final on November 10 in the Gaelic Grounds.

In a bizarre game, it finished 13 v 14, with the Tipperary champions playing the final 25-minutes down two players after straight red cards in the fourth minute of either half.

Na Piarsaigh also failed to finish with a full compliment of players with Kieran Breen shown a straight red in the 54th minute.

Remarkably, despite the three red cards, this was not a dirty card.

Indeed it was a thrilling end to end contest, played in bitterly cold and windy conditions.

Thurles had some heavy morning showers but the game was largely played without rain.

In the end it took a late charge from he Limerick city men to finally see off the Tipp side.

In front of 1,642, the Caherdavin men were 0-8 to 0-5 clear after the opening 20-minutes.

Shane Dowling had just opened the scoring when Loughmore-Castleiney full back Derek Bourke was sent off for a an off the ball clash with Kevin Ryan.

Playing against he wind, all appeared to be going to plan for Sean Stack’s men with Dowling, Kevin Downes, William O’Donoghue, Kieran Kennedy and Kevin Ryan had all notched early scores as they held the Tipp champions at bay.

But then Loughmore-Castliney came to life in the final 10-minutes of the half with an unanswered 1-6.

By the interval it was 1-11 to 0-8 and the men in green adn red had hit seven wides, compared to four for Na Piarsaigh.

On the change of ends, Loughmore-Castleiney added another goal and were 2-12 to 0-8 clear with just three minutes of the second half played.

But the fight back was instant wand Kevin Downes goaled within 60-minutes of the Loughmore goal.

As Na Piarsaigh celebrated David Dempsey hit the grounds after a wild pull from Willie Eviston and the referee was left with no choice but to send off a second Loughmore-Castleiney defender.

Still seven points was the deficit Na Piarsaigh had to make up.

They were helped along the way with a 38th minute goal from David Dempsey.

Points from David and Adrain Breen and Pat Gleeson left it 2-13 to 2-11 with 20-minutes to play.

Na Piarsaigh looked well positioned but back came the Tipp men to open a five point lead entering the final quarter.

But the men in blue didn’t panic and eventually wore down their opponents with points from Dowling (frees), James O’Brien and Gleeson leaving it 2-16 to 2-15 with eight minutes to play.

Noel McGrath edged his side back into a two point lead.

Then with six minutes to play was the Kieran Breen sending off - the third of the game for a straight red card and an apparent off the ball clash.

But Na Piarsaigh held firm and Downes pointed to reduce the lead to just a point with two minutes to play.

Then David Dempsey crashed home the winning goal after an initial Kevin Ryan shot was saved.

Noel McGrath’s 10th point reduced the lead to a single point but then in the fourth minute of injury time, Dowling came into his own half to seal the win with a mammoth free.

Scorers: Na Piarsaigh: David Dempsey 2-1, Kevin Downes 1-2, Shane Dowling 0-5 (4frees), Kevin Ryan, Pat Gleeson 0-2 each, Kieran Kennedy, William O’Donoghue, David Breen, Adrian Breen, James O’Brien 0-1 each. Loughmore-Castleiney: Noel McGrath 0-10 (6frees, 1 lineball), Cian Hennessy, Liam McGrath (0-2frees) 1-2 each, Tomas McGrath, Evan Sweeney, Tom King, John McGrath 0-1 each.

NA PIARSAIGH: Padraig Kennedy; Niall Buckley, Kieran Breen, Michael Casey; Cathal King, David Breen, James O’Brien; Alan Dempsey, Shane Dowling; William O’Donoghue, Kevin Downes, David Dempsey; Adrian Breen, Kevin Ryan, Kieran Kennedy. Subs: Pat Gleeson for Kieran Kennedy (h-t), Damien Quigley for Adrian Breen (56mins), Brian Hartnett for Michael Casey (62mins).

LOUHGMORE-CASTLEINEY: Shane Nolan; Tommy Long, Derek Bourke, Lorcan Egan; Willie Eviston, John Meagher, Tom King; Ciaran McGrath, Tomas McGrath; LIam McGrath, David Kennedy, John McGrath; Evan Sweeney, Noel McGrath, Cian Hennessy. Subs: Michael Webster for Cian Hennessy (60mins).

REFEREE: Cathal McAllister (Cork).