Na Piarsaigh 1-22
Adrian Breen and Niall Buckley were prominent as Na Piarsaigh regained the Limerick senior hurling crown with relative ease at the Gaelic Grounds, writes John Fogarty.
It was David Dempsey’s 47th minute goal from a Buckley clearance that well and truly sent Kilmallock packing although the result was virtually sealed as early as half-time when last year’s All-Ireland champions were seven points to the good.
They increased that to 10 four minutes into the second half and while Kilmallock cut the gap to seven by the 44th minute Dempsey’s goal inflated Na Piarsaigh’s advantage before Adrian Breen added his fifth and sixth points in a masterful individual display. Na Piarsaigh had far too much in too many departments to be troubled by their southern rivals who grabbed a consolation goal via Jake Mulcahy in the 58th minute and another from Graham Mulcahy with the penultimate play of the game, which gave the score-line a respectable look.
The sides were only separated by appoint after 14 minutes, Kilmallock having strung together three of them after Na Piarsaigh rushed into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes. In a half bereft of goal chances, there were plenty of frees, 10 of them from scoreable areas. While Shane Dowling (five) and Ronan Lynch (one) were accurate with their shots, Eoin Ryan missed two of the four he attempted.
That and the wide count might have been the difference up to the second quarter which Na Piarsaigh won seven points to two. After a 21st minute row which could have seen both teams lose players but in the end Na Piarsaigh captain Cathal King was the only man sanctioned with a yellow card, the Caherdavin side took control. Dowling struck over three consecutive frees and Na Piarsaigh were five points to the good. Kevin Downes and David Dempsey added their second points prior to Adrian Breen adding his third to make it 0-14 to 0-7 at the break.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: A. Breen (0-6); S. Dowling (0-5, frees); D. Dempsey (1-2); K. Downes (0-3); R. Lynch (0-2, 1 free); D. Breen, A. Dempsey, P. Casey, T. Grimes (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilmallock: G. Mulcahy (1-4); J. Mulcahy (1-1); K. O’Donnell (0-3); E. Ryan (0-2, frees); R. Hanley, G. O’Mahony, P. O’Brien, M. Houlihan (free) (0-1 each).
Na Piarsaigh: P. Kennedy; J. Boylan, M. Casey, N. Buckley; T. Grimes, C. King (c), A. Dempsey; S. Dowling, W. O’Donoghue; A. Breen, D. Breen, D. Dempsey; R. Lynch, K. Downes, P. Casey.Subs for Na Piarsaigh: G. Brown for S. Dowling (inj 43); C. Boylan for D. Breen (49); M. Foley for W. O’Donoghue (59); J. O’Brien for J. Boylan (60+2).
Kilmallock: B. Hennessy; L. Hurley (c), M. O’Loughlin, A. Costelloe; D. Joy, Philip O’Loughlin, Paddy O’Loughlin; J. Mulcahy, K. O’Donnell; P. O’Brien, G. O’Mahony, M. Houlihan; G. Mulcahy, R. Hanley, E. Ryan.Subs for Kilmallock: O. O’Reilly for E. Ryan (h-t); D. Woulfe for M. Houlihan (53).
Referee: D. O’Callaghan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon).