Red and black were the colours on the trophy yesterday as Ballygunner made it a first Munster club senior hurling title since 2001, an emotional victory for the Waterford men. They had lost to yesterday’s opponents, Na Piarsaigh of Limerick, twice at this stage in the previous three years, and their determination to break that series of defeats was clear in Semple Stadium.
When I was driving back from Thurles yesterday, I was listening to the widespread coverage on RTÉ Radio 1 of Ireland’s memorable win against the All-Blacks on Saturday evening. Hugo McNeill and Eddie O’Sullivan made some really interesting points but the general thrust of their analysis was that Ireland just refused to take a backward step against the World champions, writes
Extending their unbeaten provincial run to 12 games, Na Piarsaigh cruised into a second successive Munster final with an emphatic win over Clonoulty-Rossmore but lost key men Shane Dowling and Ronan Lynch to injuries.
It should go down as the Game That Never Was. As if no one ever paid or made their way through the turnstiles to watch it; as if no one ever played that Saturday evening; as if, for that moment in time, it didn’t seem to make the rest of the world fade into irrelevance, rather than the world soon after reducing that game to an irrelevance, writes
The memories came flooding back to me in Thurles yesterday from all angles. It was almost 20 years to the day since we, Clarecastle, won our only Munster title in 1997. We had beaten Ballygunner in the semi-final. There was a Limerick team in the final again yesterday, just like there had been when we met Patrickswell.
TJ Ryan has welcomed back the Na Piarsaigh players after their successful All-Ireland club campaign, but you couldn’t blame him for wishing he’d seen them a bit earlier in the season. His Limerick side didn’t get out of Division 1B, and the likes of Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling, and Ronan Lynch would surely have made a difference for them.