Sunday 17 December 2017

Watson proves a class apart

(After extra-time) All-Ireland Club SHC

Loughgiel 0-27

Na Piarsaigh 2-13

All-Ireland champions in 1983, Loughgiel are finally back in a St Patrick's Day final after they overcame Na Piarsaigh of Limerick in a classic at Parnell Park.

The star of a remarkable performance from the Ulster champions was Liam Watson, who scored 0-16.

The Shamrocks should have had the game won in normal time as they led by six points at one stage, but a stoppage-time Robert Sheehan goal kept their opponents in the match.

Shane O'Neill, Shane Dowling and David Breen kept Na Piarsaigh in touch, but the Shamrocks pulled away in the latter stages of the half.

Loughgiel led by 0-11 to 1-5 at half-time, but Dowling did his bit to keep Na Piarsaigh in it with three scores from placed balls. As Watson brought his tally into double figures from a free, Na Piarsaigh's task became all the more daunting.

But they rose to the challenge in magnificent fashion, with Cathal King and James O'Brien superb. It was sub Sheehan who scrambled home the goal, before Kevin Downes shot the equaliser, 0-18 to 2-12.

Two more from Watson edged Loughgiel into a two-point lead midway through extra-time, and he continued to hammer nails into the Na Piarsaigh coffin. The Limerick men lost skipper Kieran Bermingham to a second yellow in the dying moments.

Scorers -- Loughgiel: L Watson 0-16 (9f, 1 '65'), E McCloskey, J Scullion 0-3 each, B McCarry, D Laverty 0-2 each, M McFadden 0-1 Na Piarsaigh: D Breen 1-2, R Sheehan 1-0, S Dowling 0-6 (4f, 2 '65'), C King, P Gleeson, K Downes, S O'Neill, A Breen 0-1 each

Loughgiel: D Quinn; P Gillan, N McGarry, R McCloskey; J Campbell, M Scullion, J Campbell; B McAuley, M McFadden; L Watson, D Laverty, E McCloskey; B McCarry, J Scullion, S Casey. Subs: D McCloskey for Laverty, T McCloskey for McFadden, D Laverty for Casey

Na Piarsaigh: P Kennedy; D Lynch, K Breen, K Bermingham; A Dempsey, J O'Brien, B Hartnett; C King, P Gleeson; S Dowling, D Breen, S O'Neill; K Kennedy, K Downes, K Ryan. Subs: A Breen for K Breen, J Madden for Gleeson, R Sheehan for O'Neill

Referee: A Stapleton (Laois)

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