Na Piarsaigh set up final with Patrickswell after tough win over Kilmallock

Na Piarsaigh set up final with Patrickswell after tough win over Kilmallock
Na Piarsaigh's Will O'Donoghue with Michael Houlihan of Kilmallock. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

NA PIARSAIGH 0-23 - 0-18 KILMALLOCK

Na Piarsaigh came through to face Patrickswell in the Limerick SHC final with a tough win over Kilmallock.

Kilmallock started against the breeze but found themselves on the back foot against a slick Na Piarsaigh forward unit, trailing 0-6 to 0-2 on ten minutes - the city side’s free taker William Henn had his eye in early on.

The men in green and white settled, however - Henn’s opposite number, Micheal Houlihan, pointed two frees to make it 0-6 to 0-4 by the 14th minute, and two fine long-range points - from Kevin O’Donnell and Jake Mulcahy - tied the game up.

Kilmallock were beginning to take a grip around the centre of the field - O’Donnell’s lead point came after some calm interplay in the middle.

Houlihan pointed another free and O’Donnell added a third from play to make it seven on the bounce for his side before Will O’Donoghue pointed for Na Piarsaigh - 0-9 to 0-7 on 22 minutes.

As expected of such an experienced side, Na Piarsaigh didn’t panic.

Henn (free) made it a one-point game and Adrian Breen levelled, but veteran Gavin O’Mahony restored Kilmallock’s lead and Houlihan chipped in with another free.

As half-time beckoned Jake Mulcahy bombed over a long-range free but there was still time for Na Piarsaigh to come looking for a goal, with Will O’Donoghue turned back by a wall of defenders: 0-12 to 0-9 at the break.

Breen pointed for Na Piarsaigh on the resumption and Ronan Lynch put over a free from his own half.

Na Piarsaigh's Kevin Downes and Ronan Lynch with Paddy O'Loughlin of Kilmallock. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Na Piarsaigh's Kevin Downes and Ronan Lynch with Paddy O'Loughlin of Kilmallock. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

On 34 minutes we had a melee which was settled with a throw-in, only for Ronan Lynch to get a red card for a wild pull at that throw-in; Houlihan pointed the resulting free.

Sub Alan Dempsey and Thomas Grimes levelled the game only for Robbie Hanley to push Kilmallock one ahead. Kilmallock kept their spare man - Paddy O’Loughlin - behind their half-backs as Na Piarsaigh tried to find their way down the wings.

Paudie O’Brien kept Kilmallock in front until Henn (free) levelled matters on 45 minutes.

Neither side could gain the initiative: Houlihan (65) and Henn (free) swapped points again; Breen almost broke the deadlock with a goal but Barry Hennessy saved well.

Henn pointed the resulting 65 and then added a point from play. When ‘keeper Podge Kennedy pointed a long-range free it was 0-19 to 0-16 on 50 minutes.

When Robbie Hanley got a second yellow for Kilmallock the sides were evened up numerically, and Na Piarsaigh flexed their muscles.

David Dempsey and Henn added two more points and suddenly there was daylight between them.

Despite Kilmallock’s best efforts they couldn’t close that gap, with the city men defending well, Mike Casey in particular showing all his experience at full-back.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: W. Henn (0-13, 9 frees, 2 65s); A. Breen (0-3); K. Downes, D. Dempsey, A. Dempsey, T. Grimes, W. O’Donoghue, R. Lynch (free), P. Kennedy (free)(0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilmallock: M. Houlihan (0-9, 8 frees, 1 65); K. O’Donnell (0-3); R. Hanley, J. Mulcahy (1 free)(0-2 each).; G. O’Mahony, P. O’Brien (0-1 each).

NA PIARSAIGH: P. Kennedy, C. King, M. Casey, N. Buckley, M. Foley, R. Lynch, T. Grimes, C. Houihan, W. O’Donoghue (c), D. Dempsey, K. Downes, C. Boylan, A. Breen, W. Henn, P. Gleeson.

Subs: A. Dempsey for Gleeson (HT); K. Ryan for D. Dempsey (60).

KILMALLOCK: B. Hennessy, P. O’Loughlin, A. Costello, D. Joy, M. O’Loughlin, P. O’Loughlin, G. O’Mahony, K. O’Donnell, G. Mulcahy, P. O’Brien (c), J. Mulcahy, R. Hanley, O. O’Reilly, R. Egan, M. Houlihan.

Referee: M. Sexton (Bruree).

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