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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 23 January 2021
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Shane Dowling leads the way as Na Piarsaigh crowned Munster club kingpins again

Limerick ace Dowling starred as his side sealed a third provincial title in five years.

Dowling celebrates at the final whistle.
Dowling celebrates at the final whistle.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) 2-18
Ballygunner (Waterford) 2-11

A POWERFUL SECOND half display from Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh saw them crowned AIB Munster club kingpins for the third time in five seasons.

Na Piarsaigh added another provincial title to the ones collected in 2011 and 2013 as they had seven points to spare against Waterford’s Ballygunner at a bitterly cold Semple Stadium.

Na Piarsaigh trailed by three points at half-time – 1-4 to 1-7 – but they were a different outfit after the break.

A run of five unanswered points began their second half assault and after hitting the front, Shane O’Neill’s charges never looked back from there.

Ballygunner rallied to within two points when Brian O’Sullivan netted a late goal but Na Piarsaigh finished with a flourish as Limerick ace Shane Dowling, scorer of 1-4, rattled home a brilliant goal in the final minute.

Na Piarsaigh went into battle without county star Kevin Downes, ruled out through concussion after taking a blow against Thurles Sarsfields last weekend.

But there was a second half boost when David Breen came off the bench just days after having pins removed from a wrist injury this week.

Breen played a big part for Na Piarsaigh down the home straight against a Ballygunner side operating without the Mahony brothers – Philip suspended and Pauric injured.

Billy OÕKeefe under pressure from Ronan Lynch and Will OÕDonoghue Billy O'Keefe under pressure from Ronan Lynch and Will O'Donoghue. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

And yet the Gunners, playing with the breeze, led by three points at the break.

David Dempsey netted the opening goal of the game for Na Piarsaigh in the 20th minute, an avoidable concession from a Ballygunner viewpoint as nobody dealt with Mike Foley’s crossfield delivery before Dempsey pounced.

But Ballygunner hit back with a goal of their own in the 28th minute, Tim O’Sullivan on target, before Brian O’Sullivan bagged his fourth point of the opening half (from a 65).

Ballygunner had shown the greater appetite for battle in that opening period but Na Piarsaigh were a team transformed for the second half.

And their victory sets up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Leinster champions Cuala or Oulart-the-Ballagh in February.

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

Scorers for Ballygunner: Brian O’Sullivan 1-6 (0-4f, 0-2 65s), Tim O’Sullivan 1-0, Stephen Power 0-2 (1f), Stephen O’Keeffe (f), Shane O’Sullivan & JJ Hutchinson 0-1 each.

Na Piarsaigh

1. Podge Kennedy

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

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

8. Alan Dempsey
9. Will O’Donoghue

14. Shane Dowling
10. David Dempsey
15. Kevin Ryan

20. Pat Gleeson
12. Adrian Breen
13. Peter Casey

David Dempsey, Shane Dowling and Tommy Grimes David Dempsey, Shane Dowling and Tommy Grimes celebrate. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Subs:

31. David Breen for Gleeson (39)
25. Tommy Grimes for Ryan (58)

Ballygunner

1. Stephen O’Keeffe

3. Barry Coughlan
2. Eddie Hayden
4. Ian Kenny

8. Harley Barnes
6. David O’Sullivan (C)
5. Shane Walsh

7. Billy O’Keeffe
13. Conor Power

11. Barry O’Sullivan
14. Stephen Power
9. Shane O’Sullivan

12. Tim O’Sullivan
15. Brian O’Sullivan
10. Peter Hogan

Subs:

18. JJ Hutchinson for Hogan (21)
21. Conor Sheahan for B O’Keeffe (50)
24. David Walsh for Hutchinson (58)

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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