NA PIARSAIGH are the county senior hurling champions for the second time in three years. The city based side, favourites going into Sunday’s decider, defeated a valiant Adare on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-12. The defeat for Adare, was their second final loss in a row.
In what was a tough and physical game, played in wet and windy conditions, the 3,604 patrons were treated to a man of the match performance from Kevin Downes. The forward, so effective for Limerick all season off the bench, was a tower of strength for the Ennis Road natives, collecting a personal tally of four points from play.
Na Piarsaigh started the brighest running into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Adare fought back however and despite a penalty from Declan Hannon being saved, managed to close the gap to 0-8 to 0-5 at half time.
Adare, lead brilliantly from midfield by John Fitzgibbon, managed to claw their way back to level terms 10 minutes into the second half.
Na Piarsiagh responded and the following 10 minute period showed just how they won this one in the end. Points from Shane Dowling and Kevin Downes opened a gap, which Adare never closed. Adare did manage to get back to a one point margin, but Shane Dowling was on hand to knock over a free to insure a second title for the light blues.
Na Piarsaigh will now represent Limerick in the Munster club championship on October 27 against either Eire Og Nenagh or Loughmore-Castleainey from Tipperary.
Scorers – Na Piarsaigh: Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling (4 frees) 0-4 each, Alan Dempsey and Adrian Breen 0-2 each, David Sheppard, David Dempsey 0-1 each. Adare: Declan Hannon 0-7 (6 frees), John Fitzgibbon and Diarmuid Sexton 0-2 each, Conor Fitzgerald 0-1.
Na Piarsaigh – Padraig Kennedy; Niall Buckley, Kieran Breen, Michael Casey; Cathal King, David Breen, James O’Brien (capt); Shane Dowling, Alan Dempsey; William O’Donoghue, Kevin Downes, David Dempsey; Kieran Kennedy, Kevin Ryan, Adrian Breen. Subs: David Sheppard for Kieran Kennedy (47mins), Pat Gleeson for William O’Donoghue (56mins).
Adare – Shane O’Donoghue; David Dillon, John Paul Healy, Stephen Lavin; Ross Kennedy, Wayne McNamara (capt), Michael Clifford; John Fitzgibbon, Jody Hannon; Conor Fitzgerald, Paul Keane, Diarmuid Sexton; Willie Griffin, Declan Hannon, Mikey Lyons. Subs: PJ Hall for Jody Hannon (38mins), Andrew O’Connell for Mikey Lyons (39mins), Lucas O’Brien for PJ Hall (58mins).