THERE were cheers at a northside school yesterday as county hurling champions Na Piarsaigh returned to their alma mater - with the Daly Cup in tow!
Six of the Caherdavin club’s stars were back at Christ the King school at Redgate Road in the wake of their dramatic county final win over Patrickswell.
Man of the match Kevin Downes joined Michael and Peter Casey, David Dempsey, Brian Shannon and Shane Dowling, who got the loudest cheer when he declared: “Any time we bring the Daly Cup back to the school, there is always one request - and that is homework off for everyone!”
Addressing the students in the school’s main hall, forward Shane added: “I and all the boys here appreciate greatly the amount of work the teachers did with us when we were your age. Without a question, it has definitely stood to us as we have progressed and gotten older. There is no reason why any of you down there cannot be up here some day standing giving something back.”
All 300 of the school’s children gathered in the hall, which turned into a sea of sky blue to welcome their heroes home.
Na Piarsaigh chairman Timmy O’Connor was also in attendance, as the players signed students’ jerseys, and posed for photographs.
“It is great to see the amount of blue jerseys here. It is fantastic,” Shane added, “Sunday was just unbelievable. It meant so much to us to win it.”
He called on the students to “stick with it”, and keep training at Na Piarsaigh every Saturday.
Another former student of Christ the King, the forward Kevin Downes said: “It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were playing all the competitions here. It might look very far away for you bringing the cup back at the senior team. But you would be surprised lads, at how quick it goes.” He praised the teachers for the “thankless” work they do, training the children after school.“But the success we have had doesn’t come by chance.”
Liam Dillon, teacher at Christ the King, said: “The success the club is enjoying at the moment is down to a lot of different factors, primarily Na Piarsaigh. But we like to think, here at Christ the King, that we played our part too.”
“We are always delighted to welcome Na Piarsaigh back here. The panel is jam-packed full of past pupils from this school, and we have developed a very strong bond over the years,” he added.In their quest for All-Ireland glory, Na Piarsaigh will play Sixmilebridge on Sunday week.