Captain William O'Donoghue after Na Piarsaigh's victory last night. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Na Piarsaigh

'People were quick to throw it around and push it in our face so I think a lot of those got their answer tonight'

Na Piarsaigh captain William O’Donoghue hailed his team for their performance in last night’s Limerick county senior final.

IF THERE WAS a search for what fuelled Na Piarsaigh’s drive for domination in last night’s Limerick senior hurling final, captain William O’Donoghue provided it afterwards.

By the final whistle the superiority of Na Piarsaigh was unquestionable, 27 points clear after dishing out a hammering to opponents Doon as they amassed 5-27 at the Gaelic Grounds.

But in the winners’ circle they felt doubts had floated around prior to the game. Like last October when they were held off by Patrickswell in the county final or in late July when they lost their opening group game to Kilmallock.

“That’s really what we came to do tonight, put a bit of respect back in our team, put a bit of respect back in our circle and go to work hard. We’ve won a lot and the reason we’ve won that is down to hard work, it’s got nothing to do with talent. There was a lot of narration there after we lost to Kilmallock from the press, local press, national press, the fact that we’d lost our hunger, which is the most ridiculous thing I’d ever read. Everyone was mad to push that narration at us, at Kieran in a TG4 interview, at Shane in a TG4 interview, to question our hunger. So I hope everyone knows we’re alive and kicking.”

Na Piarsaigh have been a formidable presence over the last decade, ever since making their Limerick breakthrough in 2011. Last night represented their sixth county final win, they’ve added a quartet of Munster accolades and the All-Ireland triumph in 2016.

But suggestions that they were slipping clearly stung O’Donoghue and his team-mates.

“Yeah it did yeah,” admitted the Limerick midfielder.

“It absolutely did. People were quick to throw it around and push it in our face so I think a lot of those got their answer tonight. We got a hosing last year. We weren’t the county champions this year so we just wanted to show what we were made of and put some respect on our group. That was all it was about.

“We came to give a good account of ourselves, a good account of our group, what we’re working for and make a lot of Na Piarsaigh people proud. We felt that we didn’t do that last year, beaten by a better team. We just came to deliver a performance so that’s all that changed.

“I don’t want that to come across that we were goading Doon or anything like that. They were without two players, a very young squad, so I’ve no doubt over the next how many years we’re all playing senior hurling, there’ll be a lot of ding dong battles.

“It certainly wasn’t to be disrespectful or anything, it was simply that we were in a position last year where we had the screw turned on us. It was just the fear of that. We were just so driven to achieve more.”

william-odonoghue-speaks-to-his-team-after-the-game William O'Donoghue with his Na Piarsaigh players after the game. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

They achieved all that despite established forwards Shane Dowling and Kevin Downes missing out through injury for their latest success.

“We’ve 36 players training every night. Adam McNamara stepped in tonight, anyone of us could have been missing and I’d fully expect, I would have had full faith in any player there tonight stepping up trying to deliver a good performance. It’s not about how talented you are, it’s about what you’re willing to do for Na Piarsaigh and the team. I fully believed in our group.”

Generally Na Piarsaigh would now switch their focus to a bid for the Munster championship but the 2020 schedule is different. Last night represented the culmination of their work. O’Donoghue will now return to the Limerick senior camp but he departs this club campaign with fond memories.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. To be honest I’m devastated it’s over. We’ve been going on a really good run there. When you’re performing like that week in, week out for three weeks, you want that to last. That’s the feeling you’re chasing, that winning feeling. It would have been nice to have a crack off it (the Munster club).

“Obviously we’re going back into a great setup with Limerick. You just switch your focus to that. But it’s been a fantastic year. After we lost the first night, it really ignited our year. It’s been a fantastic campaign and brilliant to get a good win with some of our best friends.”

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