Graeme Mulcahy (right) was in lethal form for Kilmallock today. INPHO/Donall Farmer

County final pairings decided for Limerick SHC and Cork SHC

It’s down to the last two in club hurling action on Shannonside and Leeside after today’s games.

Na Piarsaigh’s reign as county senior hurling champions came to an end this afternoon in the Gaelic Grounds as they went down to 2010 champions Kilmallock by 4-24 to 4-13 in a thrilling and high-scoring semi-final clash.

Last year’s Munster club winners lead by two points at the break but were overhauled by a superb second-half display by Kilmallock with county senior  Graeme Mulcahy proving their hero as he finished with a return of 3-3. The match began in a lightning fashion with three goals inside the opening three minutes as Mulcahy and Kevin O’Donnell found the net for Kilmallock with Kevin Ryan replying with a goal for Na Piarsaigh.

The teams traded points for the remainder of the half before Shane Dowling, from a 20-yard free, and Adrian Breen rattled the net before the break to leave Na Piarsaigh ahead 3-9 to 2-10 at the midway mark. But Kilmallock, backed by the wind, emerged in strong fashion in the second-half with Mulcahy again raising a green flag to provide an early boost and by the 45th minute they were ahead by 3-19 to 3-11.

Breen bagged his second goal in the 51st minute to give Na Piarsaigh some brief hope but Mulcahy completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute to confirm Kilmallock’s passage to the decider.

In the final on October 7th Kilmallock will meet Adare, three-in-a-row winners between 2007 and 2009, after they overturned Garryspillane by 1-19 to 0-12 in the semi-final curtain-raiser today. Adare coped without Declan Hannon, who was suspended, to triumph comfortably and were assisted by an early goal from Donncha Sheehan that pushed them into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead.

They lead 1-13 to 0-6 at the interval and the game petered to its inevitable conclusion in the second-half. Despite the accurate free taking of Donie Ryan, Garryspillane were unable to make headway as Adare, with John Fitzgibbon and Willie Griffin firing 0-5 apiece from play, proved too strong.

Bishopstown created history by reaching their first ever county senior hurling final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh this afternoon as they defeated Ballymartle by 1-13 to 0-12 in their semi-final tie. The city club will now meet Sarsfields, who will be bidding for their third title in five years, in the decider on October 7th after they got the better of Cork IT by 3-11 to 0-14 in the second semi-final clash.

Bishopstown made the early running in their semi-final with Patrick Cronin hitting 0-7 in the opening period and along with an excellent display from Brian Murray, who was midfield on the UCC Fitzgibbon Cup winning team in March, they were 0-9 to 0-6 in front at the break.

Brian Corry helped bring Ballymartle back into contention with some accurate point-taking after the interval but Bishopstown pounced for the crucial score midway through the half when substitute Paul Honohan struck the only goal of the game after good work by Denis Crowley created the opening.

That helped them lead by 1-10 to 0-8 and they held on for a four-point success despite a late charge by Ballymartle. The triumph marks a remarkable turnaround for Bishopstown, premier intermediate champions in 2006, as they only preserved their senior status last season with a one-point victory in a relegation final replay against Ballinhassig.

In the second semi-final Sarsfields goal-scoring ability proved crucial to their six-point win over Cork IT, who had contested last year’s final against Carrigtwohill. The students were forced to line out without Aidan Walsh who was injured and they conceded two early goals when Kieran ‘Fraggy’ Murphy and Robert O’Driscoll found the net to lead 2-1 to 0-3 after 8 minutes. Cian McCarthy’s point-taking helped Sarsfields to lead 2-6 to 0-6 at the break.

Kieran Murphy hit the net for Sarsfields today. Pic: INPHO/Neil Danton

However Cork IT enjoyed a purple patch in the third quarter with Colm Casey, David Drake and Lorcan McLoughlin landing fine points to help them cut the gap to 2-7 to 0-11 by the 45th minute. But Sarsfields stepped it up again in the finale with McCarthy and O’Driscoll landing white flags before substitute Eoin O’Sullivan struck a late goal that clinched their 3-11 to 0-14 success.

Meanwhile Cloyne, who contested three Cork senior hurling finals between 2004 and 2006, were relegated to the premier intermediate ranks on Saturday when they suffered a dramatic one-point defeat to Bride Rovers by 2-13 to 2-12.

An injury-time goal from David Burke rescued 2008 finalists Bride Rovers after a Colm O’Sullivan goal moments previously looked like it had saved Cloyne. Bride Rovers lead 1-7 to 1-5 at the break with Barry Johnson grabbing their goal and Conor Cusack finding the net for Cloyne.

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