Na Piarsaigh come alive in second half once more

Limerick side beat Thurles Sarsfields in Munster semi-final at Gaelic Grounds

Na Piarsaigh 2-15 Thurles Sarsfields 0-17

A superbly taken goal by teenager Peter Casey ensured Na Piarsaigh will compete in another Munster club hurling final after a four point win over Thurles Sarsfields at the Gaelic Grounds.

The win means that Na Piarsaigh have never lost in the Munster competition having been champions in 2011 and again two years later when they won their county championship.

Once again the Limerick champions showed that they never wilt in the second half. They came from 10 points behind in the previous round against Sixmilebridge and this time they outscored Thurles by 2-6 to 0-5 in the second half.


Thurles had five first half wides and a total of seven for the hour as did Na Piarsaigh but as the game wore on the Limerick men’s confidence grew.

William O’Donoughue had a huge game at midfield ably assisted by Alan Dempsey.

Both sides made major alterations to their named line-ups as the tactical battles began from the throw-in.

Shane Dowling was crucial for the winners with seven points from frees while Cathal King also had a fine game.

Pa Bourke, Aidan McCormack, Padraic and Stephen Maher were best for Thurles.

Dowling had the Limerick men off the mark with the first of his frees after only 30 seconds. But Aidan McCormack, Stephen Cahill, and then McCormack again from 60 yards, had three in a row for the Tipperary champions.

By half time Thurles led by 0-12 to 0-9 and they had scored six in a row from play before Burke had their first score from a free after fifteen minutes.

That point came immediately after Na Piarsaigh looked set for a goal but David Dempsey slipped when clean through.

Goalkeeper Patrick McCormack rescued Thurles when both Peter Casey and Dowling were denied after 24 minutes and the half ended when Na Piarsaigh goalkeeper Podge Kennedy racing out of his goal as Lar Corbett bore down and the former Tipperary star had to settle for a point.

A Dowling free seconds after the restart left only two between them and after 37 minutes Thurles led by 0-13 to 0-11 but then came Casey’s superb goal. He gained possession from Dempsey on the end line and managed to round two defenders before hitting a superb shot from an angle high past McCormack.

Immediately Dempsey had a point but two in a row by Burke, a free, and a Billy McCarthy point tied it up after 42 minutes.

They were level again with ten minutes remaining and an inspiring point from their captain Cathal King put Na Piarsaigh back in front seven minutes from the end.

Crucially the last score of the hour was a second goal for Na Piarsaigh with Dempsey getting at the end of a long clearance from Mike Foley.

Na Piarsaigh: P Kennedy; M Casey, K Breen, K Kennedy; M Foley, R Lynch, C King 0-1; A Dempsey 0-2, W O'Donoughue; D Dempsey 1-1, K Downes 0-1, A Breen; P Casey 1-1, S Dowling 0-7 (7f), K Ryan 0-2.

Sub P Gleeson for Foley 53 mins.

Thurles Sarsfields: P McCormack; M Cahill, S Maher, David Maher; D Kennedy, P Maher, R Maher; S Cahill 0-2, B McCarthy 0-1; J Maher, A McCormack 0-3, P Burke 0-8 (5f 1 '65'); C Lanigan, L Corbett, Denis Maher.

Subs S Lillis for David Kennedy (49), T Doyle for Denis Maher (55), R Ruth for Lanigan (57).

Referee D Kirwan, Cork.