Na Piarsaigh panel chat before their semi final win over Doon
Winning with the ingredients for improvement is always desirable and that was very much the case for Na Piarsaigh hurlers last weekend.
They had the better of Doon and always looked like winning it but they were made work hard for this win.
Doon will look back and have serious regrets about how they started the game. They allowed Na Piarsaigh get an early edge and they never really recovered from it. Doon looked nervous and it took them a good while to settle.
Na Piarsaigh made hard work of what would normally be bread and butter stuff to them. This is championship and this was knockout and in that regard many of the young players from Doon didn’t cope too well with it. While Doon will be very disappointed at losing they have managed to close the gap and are very close to making a breakthrough.
Doon have a good player base and many of those younger players will have learned valuable lessons in this defeat. Na Piarsaigh while winning, weren't impressive and Doon exposed some of their weaknesses. When Doon took on this Na Piarsaigh defence they troubled them and that and other aspects of their game will set their focus in the build up for the County Final.
I got the sense that Doon overcooked this game and that in many ways explains the start they made. The Doon full backline were less than sharp in the opening minutes and that allowed Kevin Downes in for an early goal. It was a great start for Downes but after that goal he really didn’t feature in the game.
Na Piarsaigh had a lot of possession and might well have made better use of it. Barry Murphy had a good game for Doon, he kept them alive with great points from frees and after about fifteen minutes you could see signs of improvement from Doon. The game lacked the sort of bite you would expect in a knockout championship contest and it only really improved when Denis Moloney got a goal in injury time in the first half.
At that stage Doon had come more into the game and Josh Ryan had played his part in that. He created space and ran at the Na Piarsaigh backline. Na Piarsaigh only scored one point from a Shane Dowling free between the 17th and 32nd minute. It was a measure of Doon that they found their composure to fight their way back.
There was needle in the game and it spilled over a couple of times and also as the teams left the field at half time. It might have helped both teams because we had more energy in the second half. Both teams battled and while the hurling was poor at times we did at least know that a county final place was at stake. Barry Murphy kept the pressure on with some great frees for Doon and overall the team played better. Shane Dowling was equally as good on frees for Na Piarsaigh and his ability to win some vital possession was a key ingredient in his team winning. With less than ten minutes left in the game Doon had put themselves in a really good position. They trailed by two points 1-16 to 1-14 but looked lost when Peter Casey found a way to unleash his shot to score a fine goal. Credit to Doon, Darragh O’Donovan got a 20 meter free, he had the bottle to go for it and that left only two points between them again.
Na Piarsaigh finished with two further points and they managed to close out the game. That game will stand to them because overall they were rusty. They didn’t have the fluency that we would associate with them but Doon played a major part in that. Doon are going in the right direction and they can build on this performance. Shane O’Neill will know only too well that his team need to improve. He has introduced a few young players and they will benefit from such a close game.
Gillane Inspires Patrickswell
Aaron Gillane once again ran the show for Patrickswell as they got over a very game Ballybrown in this replayed quarter final. I think most people expected more from this game but as a contest it was poor enough fair. The game may have turned in the sending off of Ross Griffin just before halftime. It looked a harsh call by referee Mike Sexton but he did discuss the matter with his linesman before pulling the red card. Contact with the helmet is a no go area and Griffin is not the only one to find that out this season. I don’t think there was malice in what he did and it made his teams task all the more difficult. Given the conditions the extra man gave options and opportunities to Patrickswell.
Like in the previous game Gillane and Alan O’Connor had a big part to play and between them accounted for the majority of the scores. Richie Kenny picked up a knee injury early in the game but he recovered and worked really hard for his team. Kevin O’Brien caused a fair few problems for Ballybrown and he also landed some fine points. From a team point of view Patrickswell were ahead of where they were in the drawn game but they will need to find a bit more for Kilmallock this weekend. If any team can pull it together it's Patrickswell and Kilmallock will not take them for granted.
Kilmallock have waited in the wings for a good while now but they will be ready and sharp for this semi final. They played Gort last Sunday and they were impressive. They are a team playing with a bit of hunger and that is always a good sign.
Cian Lynch has only played a minor part because of injury over the past two weeks for Patrickswell but they will need him to start if they are to trouble favourites Kilmallock
Garryspillane came back from the dead against Feohanagh to reach the Premier Intermediate final against Murroe Boher. Eoin Sheehan is having a great year for Garryspillane. He has scored some great goals both in minor and Intermediate and his tally is now nine goals in eight games. His father served for many years as a corner back but his son is now causing a lot of problems for many defenders. As mentioned last week it has been a great year so far for the South Limerick club who also have qualified for the Premier minor final. Garryspillane have always produced hurlers but they deserve huge credit for working hard over the past few years. They will meet Murroe Boher in the final and that should be interesting. They beat them in recent weeks but that will count for little in the final. When I think of this club I remember great players like Georgie Boyle, Patsy Laffan and sharp shooter Tony Hickey. #
They have struggled over the past few years despite a strong player base. Just down from senior ranks this promises to be a close contest which will be played before the senior final.