Na Piarsaigh bridge 31-year gap

Na Piarsaigh 1-9 Whites Cross 0-6

Making their inaugural appearance, Whites Cross dominated the opening against an out-of-sorts Na Piarsaigh.

Two points from right corner-forward Conor Kelleher, and a splendid effort by midfielder Murt Kelleher gave them a dream start as Na Piarsaigh struggled to piece their game together.

Gradually, however, with Robert Healy and James Glasgow excelling at the back, Na Piarsaigh put a stop to Whites Cross early gallop.

Unfortunately, Na Piarsaigh failed to translate their outfield superiority on the scoreboard as they proceeded to kick nine wides in the first-half and missed a gilt-edged opportunity of scoring a goal when full-forward Kevin Butterworth kicked wide with the net at his mercy.

It took Na Piarsaigh 21 minutes to register their first score, a point from Butterworth, and the full-forward added another shortly after before Kelleher shot over to leave Whites Cross 0-4 to 0-2 ahead at half-time.

Incessant rain made life difficult for both sides but the standard of football in the opening half left an awful lot to be desired.

With centre-forward Colin O’Sullivan displaying some great touches, orchestrating Na Piarsaigh’s attacking movements after the break, the northside club continued to rule the roost and a point from Mark Prendergast had them breathing down Whites Cross necks after the resumption.

Then calamity befell Whites Cross.

Unfortunate goalkeeper Billy Sheahan failed to hold a high cross from the prominent Butterworth in the 37th minute and, quick as a flash, right corner-forward John Twohig billowed the Whites Cross net from close range.

This fortuitous goal signalled the death knell for Whites Cross and gave Na Piarsaigh the confidence to go on and achieve greater things. ‘Man of the Match’ O’Sullivan and Butterworth prised open the Whites Cross defence and with left half-forward William Daly sparkling on the left wing the new city champions extended their lead to 1-5 to 0-5 at the end of the third quarter.

Daly kicked five points, three from frees, as Na Piarsaigh put an authoritative stamp on proceedings. White’s Cross managed to score only two points in the second half, their last score from wing forward Conor Buckley coming 11 minutes from the end, and with Daly kicking three unanswered points in the closing stages Na Piarsaigh’s ran out consummate winners to regain the title after a lapse of 31 years.

Scorers: Na Piarsaigh: M. Twohig 1-0 W. Daly 0-5 (0-3 from frees0; K. Butterworth 0-2; M. Prendergast and A. Brady 0-1 each.

Whites Cross: C. Kelleher 0-3 (0-1 from free); M. Kelleher 0-2 (0-1 from free): C. Buckley 0-1.

NA PIARSAIGH: S. Miller; S. O’Sullivan, B. Kidney, T. Miller; R. Healy, J. Glasgow, S. Hegarty; M. Prendergast, L. Cunningham; A. Brady, C. O’Sullivan, W. Daly; J. Twohig, K. Butterworth, M. Twohig. Subs. K. O’Sullivan for Hegarty; D. McDonald for J. Twohig.

WHITES CROSS:B. Sheahan; D. Murnane, J. O’Connell, S. Gorman; B. O’Brien, E. Murnane, J. Meade; M. Kelleher, J. Drummy; C. Buckley, K. Buckley, R. Burke; C. Kelleher, E. Buckley, J. Kenneally. Subs:S. Murnane for D. Murnane; D. Kelly for Gorman.

Referee:D. Kickham (Delanys).

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