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Awesome Na Piarsaigh, Limerick hurling promise and Leinster rugby support

A look at the talking points from today’s club hurling decider.

Shane Dowling celebrates after today's game.
Shane Dowling celebrates after today's game.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. Na Piarsaigh’s complete performance

En route to Limerick and Munster glory at the end of last season, Na Piarsaigh endured some stern examinations from the likes of Kilmallock, Sixmilebridge and Thurles Sarsfields.

Those tests steeled them and they drew on that resilience to see off Oulart-the-Ballagh last month at the All-Ireland semi-final stage. When it came to the biggest day on the club calendar, Na Piarsaigh unleashed a display of devastating attacking expression.

It was a complete performance from the Caherdavin outfit, best illustrated by their scoring total of 2-25 which was the highest recorded in 60 minutes in an All-Ireland senior club hurling final – (Athenry’s 3-24 in 2001 came in a game that went to extra-time). Na Piarsaigh were awesome today.

2. Breen’s answer to being dropped

When managers drop players from starting sides, they hope to get a positive response. Adrian Breen certainly delivered that today for Na Piarsaigh. Omitted for the semi-final against Oulart-the-Ballagh, he was restored from the off for this afternoon’s final.

And the 23 year-old rewarded that faith from the management. He set his stall out early by flashing the ball to the net after 30 seconds, showcased superb striking to hit four points thereafter and wound up with the man-of-the-match award. Breen played a big role in Na Piarsaigh’s win.

3. No shame for Cushendall in defeat

After finally managing to progress to the decider, Cushendall found St Patrick’s Day to be an unforgiving setting. The Antrim club won a semi-final tie last month after nine previous losses at that juncture of the competition.

But today they collided against a powerful Na Piarsaigh force that they could not halt. Shipping 2-25 was fatal to their aspirations yet Cushendall’s persistence saw them fight to the finish.

Their supporters had reason to cheer goals after Neil McManus and Karl McKeegan skilfully doubled deliveries to the net. They lost out at the final whistle but Ruairi Óg’s battling meant there was no shame in this loss against a superior force.

4. Leinster rugby support in Croke Park

On a day when club GAA took centre stage, there was more interest than usual from another code on the events at Croke Park. Na Piarsaigh’s David Breen was influential at centre-forward in their success and was shouted on by Leinster rugby players as Breen is a physiotherapist with the provincial side.

There was celebrations on the double as Daniel Davey, a late Ballyboden sub in the football game, is a nutritionist with Leinster.

5. A Limerick hurling breakthrough

It was a day for Limerick hurling as a unit to cherish. Na Piarsaigh’s win was the first time that a Limerick club had grasped the Tommy Moore Cup. Having amassed three county, three provincial and now one All-Ireland title since October 2011, Na Piarsaigh are entitled to boast of their accomplishments.

For the county picture going forward in 2016, there will be optimism in the performances of the Na Piarsaigh crew. Shane Dowling and Kevin Downes carry good form into the summer for Limerick while players like Ronan Lynch and Peter Casey look to be super prospects.

Ronan Lynch and Alan Dempsey celebrate Na Piarsaigh's Ronan Lynch and Alan Dempsey celebrate Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

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All-Ireland club football glory for Ballyboden with 13-point win over Castlebar

Na Piarsaigh win Limerick’s first All-Ireland senior club hurling title

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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