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Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

Was yesterday the final chapter in Niall Gilligan's playing career?

The 37 year-old hinted that he may call it a day after Sixmilebridge’s Munster final loss.

A dejected Niall Gilligan after yesterday's game.
A dejected Niall Gilligan after yesterday's game.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

NIALL GILLIGAN’S BRILLIANT hurling career may have the curtain brought down on it in the aftermath of Sixmilebridge’s heavy defeat in yesterday’s AIB Munster senior hurling final.

The 37 year-old was the star a fortnight ago when Sixmilebridge won the Clare final at Cusack Park but the fairytale could not continue at the same venue yesterday as Na Piarsaigh ran out comfortable winners.

Gilligan had no qualms accepting the defeat after the game and hinted that could represent the finale of his playing days.

“Sure look after the match there, I feel like I won’t be back. That’s the way I feel today anyway. We’ll see what happens. We prepared well all week. The only finger I can put at it is maybe the seventh championship game in eight weeks. Maybe mentally it did. We’re better than what we played today.”

Gilligan was keen to stress the progress made by Sixmilebridge in a year when he played on a senior county winning side for the club and managed their U21′s to the county title.

“We’re thrilled to have won the county this year, for the first time in 11 years. It’s well documented the work that has gone in in our club.

“Overall it has been a great year. We won the U21 championship and junior B as well. Yeah Tadhg Keogh was injured there today and then I’m 37 but the next guy down after us in 25 or 26. It is a young team and they have a bright future.”


Sixmilebridge boss John O’Meara
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Manager John O’Meara echoed the views of Gilligan.

“Naturally we are disappointed, we thought there might be one more kick in us today. This is our seventh week out in eight, we did even less this week because we knew we tired.

“Look, we were beaten by a far superior team on the day. They were more physical than us, they were fresher than us and their hurling was more crisp.

“The goals were killers, they came at the start of the first half and the start of the second half. At half time and in the last ten minutes of the first half we felt we were still in with a shout.

“We came out at the start of the second half and conceded 1-1 straight away which was a bit of a killer for us. I couldn’t be complimentary enough of our lads. If you told me here on the 18th of May after we lost to Clarecastle that we’d be in a Munster final no one would have believed you.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the year we had and anything I’ve asked of those lads during the course of the year they have done it, they are a credit to themselves their families and their club.”

Na Piarsaigh are crowned Munster senior hurling club champions

Kilkenny’s Rower-Inistioge lift the Leinster intermediate hurling club crown

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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