Munster club SHC: Crusheen and Na Piarsaigh finish level

November 27, 2011

Na Piarsaigh's Kieran Breen closes down Cronan Dillon of Crusheen during the Munster club SHC final at Thurles ©INPHO/James Crombie
Crusheen and Na Piarsaigh must meet again after fighting out a thrilling draw at Thurles.

The Clare champions looked likely winners for long spells but - inspired by Man of the Match Shane Dowling - Na Piarsaigh kept plugging away and almost nicked it in the end. However, Crusheen fired the last point from a Pat Vaughan free to earn a 0-14 to 1-11 draw.

With the O'Neill Cup on ice for at least another six days, the replay will now take place on Sunday, December 4th.

Crusheen overcame the concession of a 17th-minute Dowling goal from a penalty to reel off five successive points and lead by 0-9 to 1-3 at the break.

Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh started purposefully, with Dowling and Pat Gleeson impressing at midfield, and they led by 0-2 to no score after five minutes. But Crusheen tied it up at 0-2 each after ten.

It was still level after 23 minutes: Crusheen 0-6, Na Piarsaigh 1-3, with the Clare representatives finishing the half strongly.

Dowling's free had made it 0-3 to 0-2 but the Clare men moved ahead before Na Piaragih threatened to take control: they stormed two ahead when a foul on county man Kevin Downes resulted in a penalty, which was clinically despatched by Dowling in the 17th minute, bringing his personal tally to 1-2.

The response was emphatic: Patrick Meaney hit two points to level it up again and Fergus Kennedy, Kieran O'Doherty and Vaughan - with his second point - all added to Crusheen's tally as they took a vital three-point interval advantage.

The Limerick champions closed the gap to two as they registered three of the first five points after the restart - 0-11 to 1-6 after 40 minutes: Dowling hit a free before captain Gerard O'Grady and Kennedy - with his second - replied to leave four between them. But two more Dowling frees reduced the arrears to two.

And Dowling's fourth free of the second closed the gap to just a point. Game On!

It was now a shoot-out between Dowling and Vaughan, who both split the posts with aplomb from a succession of placed balls, with Na Piarsaigh levelling only for Crusheen to go back in front.

Cathal King and John Madden were also amongst the second-half scorers for Na Piarsaigh, who were level again with five minutes remaining, 1-10 to 0-13.

Incredibly, Na Piarsaigh edged ahead three minutes from time through David Brien but Crusheen refused to roll over and they came back with a late levelling score from another Vaughan free.

A minute of injury time was added but the sides could not be separated today.

Crusheen: F Touhy; S Brigdale, Cronan Dillon, A Brigdale; C O'Doherty (0-1, free), Cian Dillon, Cathal Dillon (0-1); P Vaughan (0-5, one 65, three frees), J Meaney; G O'Donnell, J Fitzgibbon (0-1), D Forde (0-1); P Meaney (0-2), G O'Grady (0-1), F Kennedy (0-2). Subs: C O'Donnell for D Forde (55 mins).

Na Piarsaigh: P Kennedy, C King (0-1), K Breen, K Bermingham, B Hartnett, J O'Brien, A Dempsey; K Kennedy, K Ryan, D Breen (0-1), S O'Neill; S Dowling (1-7, pen, six frees), K Downes, A Breen (0-1). Subs: D Lynch for A Breen (half-time); A Hennessy for K Bermingham (44 mins); J Madden (0-1) for P Gleeson (50); D Quigley for S O'Neill (60).

Ref: J Ryan (Tipperary)


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