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Beating Tipp, Waterford and Clare champs makes Munster title one to savour

Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh picked up their second provincial crown in three years yesterday.

David Breen lifts the cup with his Na Piarsaigh teammates.
David Breen lifts the cup with his Na Piarsaigh teammates.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

NA PIARSAIGH’S PERFECT Munster senior hurling club record was maintained yesterday and they believe they have silenced their doubters in the process.

An 18-point win over Sixmilebridge clinched a provincial final win for Na Piarsaigh, two years after they had claimed that title in their maiden campaign.

There may have been a school of thought that they benefited from a straighforward passage in 2011.

But this year Na Piarsaigh beat two clubs who have five county titles since 2007, on route to their victory in Limerick before overcoming the kingpins from Tipperary (Loughmore-Castleiney), Waterford (Passage) and Clare (Sixmilebridge).

“Winning a Munster in 2011, you could look back on it and say that you’d a handy run”, outlined Na Piarsaigh centre-back David Breen. “You could say that our county final wasn’t the most competitive and we didn’t play the best in Munster. The sceptics will always say that.

“But we knew we had to come out and beat the best. In the Limerick championship we wanted to play Kilmallock and Adare, so there’d be no questions this time.

“We took on everyone. It’s a great feeling after Munster to have beaten teams from big counties. We didn’t want any excuses and let people say ‘they’re not that good’.”

Attacker Shane Dowling admitted their run to Munster glory made it one to savour.

“What a way to win a Munster championship, beating the big guys in Limerick and then the champions from Tipperary, Waterford and Clare. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that. Portumna is up next and their tradition speaks for itself.”

Brothers In Arms

David was one of three Breen brothers in the Na Piarsaigh line-up with Kieran returning from suspension to anchor the defence and Adrian grabbing 1-2 from corner-forward. Their father PJ was on the sideline as one of the Na Piarsaigh selectors.

“It’s good to have the brother back anyway”, remarked David. “He looks a bit awkward when he’s on the ball but he gets the job done. He’s a good record in there at full-back. Adrian then seems to like Munster finals. He saves himself for then. He’s a nightmare to mark in training.”

Na Piarsaigh’s thoughts will now turn to the All-Ireland series. Portumna – champions in 2006, 2008 and 2009 – await at the semi-final stage next February as Na Piarsaigh will hope to become the first Limerick club since Kilmallock in 1993 to reach a final.

They’re the benchmark. Portumna are an awesome side. We’re delighted to win Munster, it’s such a relief to win it for a second time. I might skip going down the M7 now for a change, hopefully Sean (Stack) will give us some time off. We’ll enjoy Christmas and then go back to it again.”

Na Piarsaigh boss Sean Stack: ‘My heart goes out to the ‘Bridge’

Na Piarsaigh are crowned Munster senior hurling club champions

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