Monday 16 January 2017

Na Piarsaigh poised to make Limerick history

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Shane Dowling (SPORTSFILE )
Shane Dowling (SPORTSFILE )

When the All-Ireland senior club championships were launched in 1971, nobody would have thought that 45 years later, Limerick would still be waiting for their first hurling title.

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But that's the case ahead of today's final as Na Piarsaigh bid to succeed where Ballybrown (1990), Patrickswell (1991), Kilmallock (1993-2015) failed.

Conversely, few would have anticipated that Antrim champions would emerge ahead of the Leinster, Munster and Galway giants but Loughgiel Shamrocks achieved that feat on two occasions (1983-2012).

Now, Cushendall are seeking to emulate their Antrim rivals against Na Piarsaigh who, by virtue of being the best from the Leinster-Munster side of the draw, are favourites to land the Tommy Moore Cup.

However, that's to ignore that Cushendall beat Sarsfields, who won a very competitive Galway title, in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Indeed, they were more impressive in their 3-12 to 1-6 win than Na Piarsaigh, who were taken to extra-time by Oulart-The Ballagh.

Neil McManus, Sean McAfee, Karl McKeegan and Paddy McGill scored 3-10 between them for Cushendall, a return which Na Piarsaigh will have noted.

The Limerick champions have accurate snipers too, led by Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes and David Breen so it promises to be quite a shoot-out, with Na Piarsaigh edging their way into the history books as Limerick's first winners.

Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) v Cushendall (Antrim), Croke Park, 2.00pm, Live on TG4

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