Thursday 22 August 2019

Late Na Piarsaigh surge sweeps aside Ballygunner in scrappy Munster final

Na Piarsaigh 3-15 Ballygunner 2-10

19 November 2017; Ballygunner goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe is beaten for a goal by David Breen of Na Piarsaigh during the AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final match between Na Piarsaigh and Ballygunner at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
19 November 2017; Ballygunner goalkeeper Stephen O'Keeffe is beaten for a goal by David Breen of Na Piarsaigh during the AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final match between Na Piarsaigh and Ballygunner at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Na Piarsaigh's incredible Munster senior club hurling record remains intact after a powerful second half display against Ballygunner in Thurles.

Champions in each of the three previous years they have won Limerick titles, 2011,2013 and 2015, Na Piarsaigh showed no sign of diluted drive as they came from four points down at one stage to floor the Waterford champions, still searching for their first title since 2001.

The Gunners looked to have the edge in intensity in the opening half and when Conor Power availed of a slip by corner-back Jerome Boylan in the 10th minute for the opening goal, they were in the driving seat.

Na Piarsaigh, without Shane Dowling, got their footing close to the interval however and trailed by just one point, 1-4 to 0-6.

Ballygunner pushed on again with three quick points as Phillip Mahony ran the show in defence but brother Pauric struggled from frees and landed just one from seven attempts before Billy O'Keeffe took over responsibility. 

But with Adrian Breen in top form, Na Piarsaigh were never far from a recovery and he put the pressure on in the 35th minute to send Kevin Downes through, whose offload to David Breen gave the centre-forward a straightforward opportunity.

They began to dominate and were 1-13 to 1-9 ahead in the 58th minute when Peter Hogan pounced for Ballyguner for a goal to spark life into it again.

But Ballyguynner's hope was short-lived and Adrian Breen got the touch for a second Na Piarsaigh goal before David Breen added a third after Barry Coughlan picked up a second yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with David Breen.

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Scorers - Na Piarsaigh: A Breen 1-5, D Breen 2-0, P Casey, R Lynch (2 sls, 1 65) 0-3 each, K Downes 0-2, T Grimes, C Boylan 0-1 each.

Ballygunner: P Hogan 1-2, B O'Keeffe (1f) 0-4, C Power 1-0, D O'Sullivan, Pauric Mahony (1f) 0-2 each.

 

Na Piarsaigh: P Kennedy; J Boylan,  M Casey, N Buckley;  A Dempsey, C King, T Grimes; R Lynch, W O'Donoghue; C Boylan,  D Breen, D Dempsey' P Casey, K Downes, A Breen. Subs: K Ryan for D Dempsey inj (43), G Brown for Boylan (60).

Ballygunner: S O'Keeffe; I Kenny, B Coughlan, E Hayden; W Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, S Wals; H Barnes, S O'Sullivan;  D O'Sullivan, Pauric Mahony, B O'Keeffe; P Hogan, JJ Hutchinson, C Power. Subs:C Sheehan for Power blood (19-23), Barry O'Sullivan for Walsh (53), C O'Sullivan for Power (60) C Sheehan for D O'Sullivan (62).

Referee: R McGann (Clare)

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