Na Piarsaigh set for latest battle

Na Piarsaigh set for latest battle

Na Piarsaigh captain Cathal King Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

THE step up from playing in the Munster Championship going on to the All Ireland series is a big one – something that Na Piarsaigh are all too well aware of.

However, club chairman Risteard O’Flaherty says all is good in the camp ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford and Leinster champions Oulart-The-Ballagh.

“The mood is good,” the chairman said ahead of the Thurles clash which throws in at 3.45pm. “We are concentrating at the job at hand.

“There is a big gap between Munster and All-Ireland championship but fingers crossed, we have the work done over Christmas and hopefully we are peaking at the right time.”

While Na Piarsaigh are concentrating on their own game, it will help self-belief that just 12 months ago, Kilmallock – a side Na Piarsaigh beat in the Limerick SHC semi-final – reached the All-Ireland final, losing out to Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny.

“When you see other Limerick teams get there (to Croke Park) you want to get there yourself,” O’Flaherty added. “Kilmallock had already been there (before last year) so too were Patrickswell and Ballybrown.”

After winning a first county SHC title in 2011, the last five years have been incredible for the north-side club, who have won three county and three provincial titles. However, as O’Flaherty points out, this success did not come overnight.

“There are structures in place that have been there since the 80s,” he revealed. “We have gone up through the grades from junior to intermediate to senior and then we had to get used to competing at that level.

“Every coach is a cog in the wheel and in five or six years time there will be a new group of players,” he said, adding that it was important that the club didn’t rest on its laurels at under-age level.

Victory on Saturday in the game televised on TG4 would set up an All-Ireland final appearance against either Sarsfields of Galway or Antrim and Ulster champions Cushendall. However, while admitting that a Croke Park appearance on St Patrick’s Day would be “fantastic for Na Piarsaigh”, O’Flaherty and his club are not getting carried away.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball, we are taking it one game at a time. We are 100% focused on this game.”