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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 October, 2018
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Na Piarsaigh win Limerick's first All-Ireland senior club hurling title

Adrian Breen and Kevin Downes bagged first-half goals for the new club kingpins.

Na Piarsaigh 2-25
Cushendall 2-14

Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park

A DAY OF deliverance for Na Piarsaigh and for Limerick club hurling in Croke Park.

For the first time a Limerick senior club reigned supreme on St Patrick’s Day after the county’s representatives fell short on four previous occasions.

Na Piarsaigh players celebrate with the cup Na Piarsaigh players celebrate their All-Ireland club final win Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

And for Na Piarsaigh it was a glorious breakthrough as they hit full speed on the biggest stage to unleash a powerful display.

A goal after just 30 seconds from Adrian Breen set the tone for Na Piarsaigh as he whipped to the net after being picked out by David Dempsey.

When Kevin Downes buried a shot to the bottom corner for their second goal in the 26th minute, Na Piarsaigh were cruising into the winners enclosure as they enjoyed a 2-10 to 0-3 advantage.

With a 2-12 to 0-6 lead at the break, Na Piarsaigh had laid the foundations for success in the opening-half.

Cushendall never wilted with Neil McManus and Shane McNaughton resilient to the finish. McManus struck to the net in the 38th minute and there was a great moment for veteran Karl McKeegan three minutes from the end when he smashed home Cushendall’s second goal.

But in truth this contest was settled early on. Cushendall replied to Breen’s goal with a pair of points yet Na Piarsaigh quickly reasserted authority with Dowling pointing the way as they went ahead 1-4 to 0-2 in the 10th minute.

David Breen celebrates with the cup David Breen celebrates Na Piarsaigh's victory Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

McNaughton raised a white flag for Cushendall before Na Piarsaigh rattled off 1-6 without reply to put them out of sight. At the break Na Piarsaigh were 12 points clear and they were 16 points ahead – 2-18 to 0-8 – by the 38th minute.

Dowling, Adrian and David Breen, Downes, midfielder Alan Dempsey and young attacker Peter Casey all shone in the scoring stakes as Na Piarsaigh produced some exceptional passages of play.

Cushendall fought gamely to the finish and were rewarded with that pair of well-taken goals. But this was Na Piarsaigh’s day as they inscribed their name on the national club hurling roll of honour.

Conor Carson under pressure from Will OÕDonoghue Cushendall's Conor Carson under pressure from Na Piarsaigh's Will O'Donoghue Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Shane Dowling 0-7 (0-4f), Adrian Breen 1-4, Kevin Downes 1-2, Alan Dempsey 0-4, Peter Casey 0-3, David Breen 0-2, Ronan Lynch (0-1f), Will O’Donoghue 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cushendall: Neil McManus 1-7 (0-5f), Shane McNaughton 0-4, Karl McKeegan 1-0, Conor Carson, Eoghan Campbell, Alec Delargy 0-1 each.

Na Piarsaigh

1. Padge Kennedy

2. Mike Casey
3. Kieran Breen
4. Kieran Kenneedy

5. Mike Foley
6. Ronan Lynch
7. Cathal King (captain)

8. Alan Dempsey
9. Will O’Donoghue

10. Shane Dowling
11. David Breen
12. Kevin Ryan

13. Kevin Downes
14. David Dempsey
15. Peter Casey

Subs
12. Kevin Ryan for David Breen (54)
25. Pat Gleeson for O’Donoghue (56)

Cushendall

1. Eoin Gillan

2. Ryan McCambridge
3. Martin Burke
4. Aaron Graffin (captain)

5. David Kearney
6. Eoghan Campbell
7. Sean Delargy

8. Shane McNaughton
9. Alec Delargy

10. Conor Carson
11. Neil McManus
12. Sean McAfee

13. Paddy McGill
14. Donal McNaughton
15. Christy McNaughton

Subs
26. Paddy Burke for Sean Delargy (33)
17. Karl McKeegan for Donal McNaughton (37)
30. Aidan McNaughton for Christy McNaughton (43)
18. Eunan McKillop for Graffin (54)
29. Eoin Laverty for McGill (57)

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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