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73-year wait ended for Clare final place as 2016 All-Ireland champs back in Limerick decider

It was a good day’s work for Clooney-Quin, Na Piarsaigh and Patrickswell.

pjimage Clooney-Quin's Peter Duggan and Na Piarsaigh forward Peter Casey. Source: INPHO

CLOONEY-QUIN WILL provide a novel contestant for this year’s Clare senior hurling final while 2016 All-Ireland club champions Na Piarsaigh have returned to the Limerick senior hurling decider.

Clooney-Quin sprung a surprise in the Banner county with a 0-16 to 0-14 semi-final success at Cusack Park in Ennis against a Clonlara team that had lost the final for the past two seasons.

Clare senior Peter Duggan was their star turn with 0-12 as Clooney-Quin, who won the Clare senior B title last year, reached a first final in since 1944.

Clooney-Quin were ahead 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval but Duggan inspired them to surge ahead 0-15 to 0-9 by the 48th minute.

Then Clonlara mounted a comeback with Cathal O’Connell and John Conlon helping them cut the deficit to a single point before Duggan raised a late white flag for the insurance score to seal Clooney-Quin’s victory.

They will meet the winners of tomorrow’s second semi-final between Sixmilebridge and Newmarket-on-Fergus in the final.

In Limerick, Na Piarsaigh booked a fifth final place in seven years with a 2-18 to 2-14 semi-final victory over Doon in the Gaelic Grounds.

Na Piarsaigh won their maiden All-Ireland senior club hurling title in 2016 but then exited that year’s county championship after the group stages. They have returned to form this year and got an ideal start today with Kevin Downes finding the net inside the opening minute.

The accuracy of man-of-the-match Shane Dowling helped Na Piarsaigh go ahead 1-8 to 0-5 during the first half but a Denis Moloney goal helped Doon cut the deficit to 1-9 to 1-7 at the interval.

The second half was keenly contested with Na Piarsaigh were in front 1-16 to 1-14 in the closing stages when county senior Peter Casey pounced for a crucial second goal.

Doon responded instantly with Darragh O’Donovan netting from a close-range free but Na Piarsaigh grabbed two late points to clinch the honours.

They will now face reigning champions Patrickswell or 2014 kingpins Kilmallock in the decider. That pair will face off in next Sunday’s second semi-final after Patrickswell saw off Ballybrown by 0-17 to 0-13 in their quarter-final replay today.

Ballybrown made the early running to go ahead 0-8 to 0-5 but they were reduced to 14 men when Ross Griffin was sent-off and a late Aaron Gillane point left Patrickswell two adrift at half-time.

Gradually Patrickswell got on top in the second half with Gillane and Kevin O’Brien pointing the way as they had four to spare at the final whistle.

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