Na Piarsaigh 4-14
NA PIARSAIGH CRUISED to victory by 18 points in Cusack Park today to bag their second AIB Munster senior hurling club title in three years.
The Limerick champions were in outstanding form as Sixmilebridge had no answer to them before an attendance of 3,689 at the Ennis venue.
Na Piarsaigh advanced to an All-Ireland semi-final tie against Portumna next February with this victory on a difficult day for their manager Sean Stack, who is a Sixmilebridge native.
The winners got off to a perfect start with Kevin Downes billowing the net in the opening minute after being played in by his Limerick senior colleague Shane Dowling.
They kicked on from there to lead by 1-5 to 0-1 by the 20th minute as Sixmilebridge struggled for scores. The Clare champions did tack on points before the break through Niall Gilligan and Shane Golden but they were still six points adrift, 1-8 to 0-5, at the interval.
And Na Piarsaigh killed off the challenge of Sixmilebridge straight after half-time when Kevin Ryan flicked a Dowling delivery to the net for their second goal of the game.
The third goal arrived from classy corner-forward Adrian Breen as the game entered the final quarter and substitute David Sheppard bagged Na Piarsaigh’s fourth goal in the dying moments of the game.
There was a great spread of scores in the Na Piarsaigh attack with midfielder Alan Dempsey also impressing. But their defence was also outstanding, keeping a clean sheet after conceding five goals in their previous two games in Munster.
The Breen brothers, David and Kevin, caught the eye while Cathal King was awarded man-of-the-match for his defensive showing.
Sixmilebridge kept battling until the finish but could not get the goals they needed as Na Piarsaigh stormed to victory.
Captain James O’Brien lifts the cup.
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Kevin Ryan 1-3, Adrian Breen 1-2, Shane Dowling 0-5 (0-4f), David Sheppard, Kevin Downes 1-0 each, Alan Dempsey 0-2, Pat Gleeson, David Dempsey 0-1 each,
Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Niall Gilligan 0-3 (0-3f), Shane Golden 0-2, Jamie Shanahan (0-1f), Caimin Morey (0-1f), Kevin Lynch 0-1 each.
NA PIARSAIGH: Padraic Kennedy; Kieran Breen, Cathal King, Michael Casey; James O’Brien, David Breen, Niall Buckley; Alan Dempsey, William O’Donoghue; Pat Gleeson, Kevin Downes, David Dempsey; Kevin Ryan, Shane Dowling, Adrian Breen.
Subs: Kieran Kennedy for Buckley (43), John Madden for David Dempsey (49), David Sheppard for Adrian Breen (56), Brian Hartnett for O’Brien (60), Damien Quigley for Downes (60).
SIXMILEBRIDGE: Derek Fahy; Aidan Quilligan, Caimin Morey, Brian Carey; John Fennessy, Paidi Fitzpatrick, Noel Purcell; Kevin Lynch, Jamie Shanahan; Rory Shanahan, Shane Golden, Seadna Morey; Alan Mulready, Niall Gilligan, Pa Sheehan.
Subs: Conor Deasy for Mulready (42), Sam O’Sullivan for Quilligan (49).
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)