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Five star! Na Piarsaigh in control with 27-point final win to clinch Limerick senior hurling title

Na Piarsaigh fired 5-27 in a brilliant display against Doon.

Na Piarsaigh celebrate their Limerick senior hurling final win.
Na Piarsaigh celebrate their Limerick senior hurling final win.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Na Piarsaigh 5-27
Doon 1-12

JUST OVER EIGHT weeks ago Na Piarsaigh lost out in their opening 2020 Limerick hurling test but when it came to the final exam tonight they hit the heights with a display of perfection.

For the sixth time since 2011 Na Piarsaigh enjoy the status of county senior hurling champions in Limerick, despatching Doon by 27 points for a runaway success tonight in a game where they fired in five goals in a stunning scoring show.

If that early group reversal against Kilmallock and last October’s final loss to Patrickswell generated any doubt over Na Piarsaigh’s standing, it has been firmly dispelled.

Doon brought the potential of a novel and heartwarming storyline as they chased a first title but Na Piarsaigh were too powerful in too many sectors. A pair of brilliantly-taken goals by David Dempsey either side of the interval underlined their control and pushed them into a lead they never seemed likely to relinquish.

Peter Casey contributed 2-4 from play and providing the finishing touches when cracking home a brace of goals in the last quarter before Dempsey then played in Adrian Breen for the fifth goal that rounded off their success.

conor-boylan-celebrates-scoring-the-first-goal David Dempsey impressed for Na Piarsaigh tonight Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Na Piarsaigh had a variety of forwards on song as they ripped Doon apart. A six-point advantage at the interval had swelled to ten by the second-half water break before the winners scored 3-8 without reply in the closing stages.

It was a match marked by big name absentees. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) and Richie English (Doon) are long-term injury victims, Darragh O’Donovan and Kevin Downes more recent withdrawals for their respective teams. The losses hurt Doon more, robbing their team of formidable figures. Na Piarsaigh had the capacity to withstand those blows and still produce a polished display all over the field.

In addition Doon’s danger men in attack Pat Ryan and Barry Murphy, so impressive in their point-taking in the semi-final success seven days previous over Kilmallock, were well-policed by the Na Piarsaigh rearguard and the disciplined covering of midfield duo Thomas Grimes and William O’Donoghue.

Na Piarsaigh began sharply with Casey and Breen hitting their stride as they clipped over four points between them inside six minutes. Doon stuck with them as Josh Ryan had a big influence at midfield in landing a pair of scores and young defender Cormac Ryan showcased his long-range free-taking expertise as well in the opening period.

Trailing 0-8 to 0-6 at the first water break, Doon had been highly competitive but the game started to slip out of their reach. Dempsey picked his spot excellently for the goal that shaped Na Piarsaigh’s 1-12 to 0-9 interval advantage.

He had raised another green flag early in the second half and despite Barry Murphy replying soon after when drilling a penalty low to the net for Doon, it was an uncomfortable experience in the second half for the East Limerick club. The local U21 champions this year, they had five of that team starting and there was a clear youthful streak in their team.

cormac-ryan-dejected A tough night for Doon's players. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

There may be promise for the future there but the present is all about the control of Na Piarsaigh. Will Henn, Ronan Lynch and James O’Brien knocked over some fine points from placed balls while Grimes and O’Donoghue typified the relentless hunger and drive the side possessed. Further back Mike Casey gave the team a firm foothold and they cruised to victory as the scores piled up.

It was their biggest victory margin in a Limerick final but marks the end of their championship adventures for this season as there is no provincial and All-Ireland series. On this form there is a sense of regret that they cannot go on to compete in wider arenas but at home in Limerick, Na Piarsaigh reigned supreme again.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Peter Casey 2-4, David Dempsey 2-2, Will Henn 0-8 (0-7f), Adrian Breen 1-3, Ronan Lynch 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 ’65), Conor Boylan, James O’Brien (0-1f), Thomas Grimes 0-2 each.

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Scorers for Doon: Barry Murphy 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f, 0-1 ’65), Cormac Ryan 0-3 (0-3f), Josh Ryan 0-2, Denis Moloney 0-2, Jack Cummins 0-1.

Na Piarsaigh

1. Padraig Kennedy

21. Kieran Kennedy
3. Mike Casey
4. Cathal King

7. Alan Dempsey
6. Ronan Lynch
2. Jerome Boylan

8. Thomas Grimes
9. William O’Donoghue (captain)

10. Adam McNamara
14. Conor Boylan
13. Peter Casey

15. William Henn
12. Adrian Breen
11. David Dempsey

Subs

5. Mike Foley for Alan Dempsey (53)
23. James O’Brien for Lynch (55)
17. Niall Buckley for Kennedy (55)

Doon

1. Eoghan McNamara

2. Chris Thomas
3. Eoin Fitzgibbon
4. Tommy Hayes

7. Jack Cummins
6. Mikey O’Brien
5. Cormac Ryan

8. Micheal Ryan
9. Josh Ryan

12. Barry Murphy (captain)
11. Pat Ryan
10. Denis Moloney

13. Eddie Stokes
14. Darragh Stapleton
15. Jack Ryan

Subs

21. Dean Coleman for Micheal Ryan (28)
20. Patrick Cummins for Hyes (half-time)
18. Cian O’Donovan for Stokes (44)

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Ballylanders)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from LIT Gaelic Grounds

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