Downes stars as Na Piarsaigh defeat Adare to regain Limerick county title

Limerick star hits four superb points from play as Adare rue the cost of a missed penalty opportunity

Adare’s Declan Hannon is tackled by Na Piarsaigh’s Kieran Breen during the Limerick senior hurling final at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Adare’s Declan Hannon is tackled by Na Piarsaigh’s Kieran Breen during the Limerick senior hurling final at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho


Na Piarsaigh 0-14 Adare 0-12

Na Piarsaigh won back the Limerick senior hurling crown which they lost 12 months ago after claiming it for the first time in 2011.

At a damp and windy Gaelic Grounds yesterday they inflicted a second successive final defeat on Adare. Despite a thrilling finish the standard was not overly impressive for any potential new county manager who may have been watching.

The main difference between the side was Adare’s failure to get anything from a first -half penalty opportunity.

Limerick pair Declan Hannon and Shane Dowling went head to head in a shoot-out but there was no clear winner. It was an interesting first half at the end of which Na Piarsaigh led by 0-8 to 0-5.

The wide count was similar and the city side were off target on eight occasions after playing with the strong wind.

Hannon opened with an Adare free and Dowling did likewise to level. Na Piarsaigh then gained control with points by Dowling (a free), Alan Dempsey, and Kevin Downes.

Pulled back
Conor Fitzgerald stopped the rot with Adare’s first point from play after 14 minutes and a minute later they had a great chance of drawing level when Willie Griffin was was pulled back by Kieran Breen and referee Johnny Murphy blew for a penalty.

Dowling went from midfield to be one of three on the goal line and it was he who deflected Hannon’s effort for a ‘65’ which was pushed wide.

Despite this Adare rallied and Diarmuid Sexton struck a beautiful point; Hannon put over two frees to tie it up at 0-5 each.

Na Piarsaigh finished the half better with Adrian Breen, Downes for his third of the half, and David Dempsey opened up the three point gap.

It was all of nine minutes before Hannon had the first second half score, a pointed free, and midfielder John Fitzgibbon raced upfield for two magnificent points to make it 0-8 each after 42 minutes.

That sparked new energy into Na Piarsaigh and they finished stronger once Dowling’s free edged them back in front.

Hannon kept up the pressure with a couple of points and only one separated them as time moved into the last five minutes. But Na Piarsaigh held out and fittingly it was Dowling who had the last score with his final point.

David Breen, 17-year-old Michael Casey and Cathal King did well in defence but it was a great day for Kevin Downes who scored four magnificent points from play.

Adare relied heavily for their scores from Hannon who posted seven points (six frees) while Fitzgibbon (two points) impressed in the second half.

NA PIARSAIGH: P Kennedy; N Buckley, K Breen, M Casey; C King, D Breen, J O’Brien; K Ryan, A Dempsey (0-2); W O’Donoghue. K Downes (0-4), D Dempsey (0-1); K Kennedy, S Dowling 0-5 (5f), A Breen (0-1). Subs: D Sheppard (0-1) for K Kennedy (48 mins), P Gleeson for O’Donoghue (56 mins).
ADARE: S O’Donoghue; D Dillon, JP Healy, S Lavin; R Kennedy, W McNamara, M Clifford; J Fitzgibbon (0-2), J Hannon; C Fitzgerald (0-1), P Keane, D Sexton (0-2); W Griffin, D Hannon(0-7 (6f), M Lyons. Subs: PJ Hall for J Hannon (36 mins), L O’Brien for Hall (58 mins).
Referee: J Murphy, Ballylanders.