Munster club SHC final: Na Piarsaigh make it three in five seasons

November 22, 2015

Ballygunner's Eddie Hayden and Pat Gleeson of Na Piarsaigh

Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) 2-18

Ballygunner (Waterford) 2-11

Na Piarsaigh kept their perfect Munster club hurling championship record intact when they turned on the style in the second half to overpower Ballygunner at Semple Stadium.

The Limerick champions turned a three-point half-time deficit into a six-point victory to capture their third provincial title since 2011. Ballygunner were still in it until Shane Dowling's last-minute goal finished them off.

Forced to field without county star Kevin Downes, who was concussed in last Sunday's semi-final win over Thurles Sarsfields, Na Piarsaigh played second fiddle to their wind-assisted Waterford counterparts for much of the first half. Despite the absence of the Mahony brothers through injury and suspension, Ballygunner recovered well from conceding a 20th minute David Dempsey goal to take a 1-7 to 1-4 lead into the break.

Tim Kelly replied with a 28th minute goal before Brian O'Sullivan's fourth point from a '65' left Denis Walsh's men three points clear.

However, Na Piarsaigh were a different team in the second half, taking control with five unanswered points within five minutes of the restart per Shane Dowling (three), Peter Casey and Will O'Donoghue.

Further efforts from Dowling, Dempsey and Kevin Ryan extended their advantage to 1-12 to 1-8 before the Gunners responded with points from Brian and Shane O'Sullivan to leave three between the sides.

David and Alan Dempsey put the Limerick city outfit five in front again before Brian O'Sullivan cut the gap to two with Ballygunner's second goal. But Shane O'Neill's charges finished flourish with points from Lynch, Casey and substitute David Breen being followed by Dowling's late goal.

Na Piarsaigh will meet the winners of next Sunday's Leinster final between Oulart-The Ballagh and Cuala in next February's All-Ireland semi-final.

Na Piarsaigh - P Kennedy; M Casey, K Breen, K Kennedy; M Foley (0-1), R Lynch (0-2, 1f), C King; A Dempsey (0-2), W O'Donoghue (0-1); K Ryan (0-2), D Dempsey (1-2), S Dowling (1-4, 0-2f); P Casey (0-3), P Gleeson, A Breen. Subs: D Breen (0-1) for P Gleeson, T Grimes for K Ryan.

Ballygunner - S O'Keeffe (0-1f); E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; S Walsh, D O'Sullivan, H Barnes; B O'Keeffe, S O'Sullivan (0-1); T O'Sullivan (1-0), S Power (0-2, 1f), Barry O'Sullivan; P Hogan, Brian O'Sullivan (1-6, 0-4f, 0-2'65), C Power. Subs: JJ Hutchinson (0-1) for P Hogan, C Sheahan for B O'Keeffe, D Walsh for JJ Hutchinson.

Referee - D Kirwan.

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