The famine finishes for Na Piarsaigh in fine style
LIMERICK SHC FINAL/Na Piarsaigh 2-18 Ahane 0-13:NA PIARSAIGH made history at the Gaelic Grounds when they won the Limerick championship for the first time, which prompted captain Kieran Bermingham to declare that “the famine is over”.
Founded in 1968, the win will be a great boost for the game in the north of the City.
Having led 1-11 to 0-7 Na Piarsaigh, managed by former Clare star Seán Stack, suffered a third quarter backlash but a goal from a penalty after 47 minutes put them in front 2-14 to 0-12.
Shane Dowling cracked in the goal after David Breen was fouled by Kevin Ryan and with another 10 points he turned in a five star display with eight of those points scored from frees.
Ahane were a disappointment but will regret that Niall Moran had to be content with a point from a penalty after 19 minutes and and they were unlucky not to get a goal from play by Kevin Ryan; his effort came back off the bottom of the post three minutes later.
By that stage Na Piarsaigh led by 1-8 to 0-5, with the goal scored by Kevin Downes.
Ahane started brightly with a long range pointed free by John Meskell but the goal was a big blow and left them five points adrift.
Two years ago Na Piarsaigh reached their first final and were walloped by Adare. But as Bermingham said “the boys of 2009 are the men of 2011” and certainly when the pressure came on in the third quarter Na Piarsaigh held firm this time.
While Dowling was the scorer in chief it was the overall superiority throughout the field that carried the day for Na Piarsaigh. Kieran Breen, James O’Brien and Brian Hartnett shone in a tight defence, while Pat Gleeson and Cathal King did well at midfield and up front, Kevin Downes was a constant threat and he put over one spectacular point.
Dowling was the scoring hero and he picked off his points at will as the Ahane defence began to creak and they conceded too many frees.
Ahane suffered a big blow when influential midfielder Meskell was forced off due to injury before half-time.
They also relied too much on Niall Moran, who bagged five points, three of them superb efforts from play. But failing to score from the penalty – his effort went over off the crossbar for a point – took a lot of the sting from their efforts.
Ironically Moran coached a number of the Na Piarsaigh rising stars when they studied at Ard Scoil Rís and reached the All-Ireland final two years ago.
Mike Carr shone at centreback and was ably assisted by Cathal O’Reilly and Alan Doherty but up front they failed to create sufficient chances.
For Na Piarsaigh it was a dream come true.
Club chairman Timmy O’Connor said: “It has been our ambition since we were founded to win this title. Two years ago we lost badly but we have come back and with a young side we hope to be around for a good few years in the title chase.”
NA PIARSAIGH: P Kennedy; A Hennessy, K Breen, K Bermingham; A Dempsey, J OBrien, B Hartnett; C King, P Gleeson (0-2); R Sheehan, D Breen (0-2), S O’Neill (0-1); S Dowling, (1-10, 1-0 pen, eight frees), K Downes (1-1), K Ryan. Subs: A Breen (0-2), for Sheehan (h-t) J Madden for ONeill (38 mins), D Lynch for Dempsey (40 mins), D Quigley for Ryan (58 mins), K Kennedy for Gleeson (59 mins).
AHANE: T Flynn; A Doherty, D Madden, J Doheny; C OReilly, M Carr, P Treacy; J Meskell (0-2, one free), F Ahern (0-1); D Morrissey (0-1), N Moran (0-5, three frees), D Laing; B Healy, O Moran (0-1), R Ryan. Subs: S Madden (0-2) for Ryan (16 mins), M Foley for D Madden (29 mins), P OConnor (0-1) for Meskell (26 mins), S OConnor for Laing (38 mins), C Ryan for Doheny (54 mins).