Majestic Kilmallock dethrone Piarsaigh

Kilmallock 4-24 Na Piarsaigh 4-13

They now meet Adare in a decider that will see former Clare senior hurling managers Tony Considine and Ger O’Loughlin coming face-to-face along the sidelines.

Considine’s Kilmallock thundered past Na Piarsaigh in a pulsating semi-final in the Gaelic Grounds.

The eight goal thriller was turned on its head with a blistering start to the second half securing a six point lead for Kilmallock after Na Piarsaigh had led 3-9 to 2-10 at half-time.

There was a blistering opening to the game with three goals inside 90-seconds, Kilmallock accounting for two of them, Kevin O’Donnell setting the ball rolling when nudging to the net after just 60-seconds. Straight from the puckout Na Piarsaigh’s Kevin Ryan blasted to the net from 20-metres. And, then from the next re-start, Kilmallock repeated the dose with Graeme Mulcahy netting. That left it 2-1 to 1-1 to Kilmallock with just 3-minutes played.

Na Piarsaigh then settled down and, backed by the wind, fired over three successive Dowling points to level the game.

Midfielder Robert Egan had two points for Kilmallock midway through the half as his side edged ahead 2-3 to 1-4.

Then came another blast of three successive Na Piarsaigh points with Kevin Downes, Adrian Breen and a Dowling ’65 putting the champions back in front, 1-7 to 2-3 and it was only the end of a frantic opening quarter.

Eoin Ryan (free) and Graeme Mulcahy hit back for the men from south Limerick. In reply came points from Breen brothers David and Adrian.

The scoring pace finally eased in the closing minutes of the half with Kilmallock relying on the frees of Eoin Ryan. But Na Piarsaigh were not finished and Adrian Breen had the best of the first half’s five goals when he blasted to the net from 21-metres in first half injury time. That put the champions 3-9 to 2-10 clear at the break after a pulsating first half.

But on the resumption Kilmallock hit 1-5 without reply inside five minutes. Graeme Mulcahy notched his second goal while O’Donnell brothers Kevin and Shane were among the point scorers.

Adrian Breen fired home their fourth goal eight minutes from time, but there was to be no grandstand finish.

Indeed it was Kilmallock that finished the stronger with Graeme Mulcahy completing his hat-trick of goals in the 54th minute.

Scorers for Kilmallock: G. Mulcahy 3-3, E. Ryan 0-8 (5f), K. O’Donnell 1-3, S. O’Donnell 0-4, P. O’Brien, R. Egan 0-2 each, P. O’Dwyer, J. Mulcahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: S. Dowling 1-7 (1-5f, ’65), A. Breen 2-3, K. Ryan 1-0, K. Downes 0-2, D. Breen 0-1.

KILMALLOCK: B. Hennessy; M. O’Loughlin, P. O’Loughlin, K. O’Mahony; L. Walsh, G. O’Mahony, B. O’Sullivan; P. O’Brien, R. Egan; J. Mulcahy, P. O’Dwyer, E. Ryan; G. Mulcahy, K. O’Donnell, S. Donnell.

Subs: L. Hurley for M. O’Loughlin (h-t), J. Meade for P. O’Loughlin (49), K. Keannelly for O’Dywer (58).

NA PIARSAIGH: P. Kennedy, D. Lynch, N. Buckley, C. King; A. Dempsey, J. O’Brien, B. Hartnett; A. Hennessy, K. Ryan; S. O’Neill, D. Breen, K. Kennedy; S. Dowling, K. Downes, A. Breen.

Subs: K. Breen for Hennessy (16), P Guinane for Hartnett (h-t), D. Sheppard for Kennedy (44), P. Gleeson for O’Neill (45), D. Dempsey for D. Breen (52).

Referee: S. Hourigan.

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