Battling Piarsaigh bounce back

Na Piarsaigh 0-20 Sarsfields 2-09

It is 16 years since they won the Conroy Cup and after their heavy defeat by Midleton in the county championship semi-final, Guiheen was delighted to end the season on a high.

“I’m very proud of the lads. We didn’t play well against Midleton in the championship,” he said.

“We were very poor that day. But the lads have worked very hard. They are an honest bunch and they are very committed.

“This team needs a bit of silverware, something to build on. And I am delighted with the manner in which we won. We never panicked. At half-time we looked dead and buried. They proved a point, that there is a lot of bottle in them.”

Defeated county finalists Sarsfields were looking to regain the trophy they last held in 2011. Missing a number of first-choice players, and Michael Cussen who was listed on the programme but withdrew due to injury, while former county skipper Kieran Murphy, who was involved in both Sars goals, didn’t return for the second-half, also injured. However, this should not detract from the Na Piarsaigh performance.

Sarsfields were on top for the opening 30 minutes after which they led 2-7 to 0-7 thanks to a brace of Cormac Duggan majors in the 17th and 22nd minute, but the second half was one-way traffic as a superior Na Piarsaigh outscored Sarsfields 13 points to two.

“We told them they would get chances. The scoreboard was ticking over and we had missed a few goal chances. We told them not to panic, to keep plugging away. We fought for everything in the second-half.

“We tightened up considerably. There is great credit due to them, especially after what happened against Midleton,” added Guiheen.

Midfielder Eoin Moynihan (0-12) was in tremendous form, particularly from placed balls, punishing any indiscretion from Sarsfields. Their resolute defence headed up by Sean Óg Ó hAilpín and Christopher Joyce grew in stature only allowing Sars two points after the changeover (one from play).

A point from full-forward John Gardiner around the three-quarter mark saw Na Piarsaigh draw level for the first time, 0-14 to 2-8. Daniel Roche pegged one back for Sars after linking with Cian McCarthy. However, they failed to score again as Na Piarsaigh closed out with six unanswered points – four wonderfully converted Moynihan frees, and a point each from Padraig Gould and Cian O’Mahony.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: EMoynihan (0-12, 8fs, 2 65s), P Gould (0-3, 1f), C O’Mahony (0-2), S Óg Ó hAilpín, K Buckley and J Gardiner (0-1 each).

Scorers for Sarsfields: C Duggan (2-0), C McCarthy (0-4, 3fs), D Roche and G O’Loughlin (0-2 each), T Óg Murphy (0-1).

NA PIARSAIGH: A Keating; A Brady, D Mannix, A Bell; R McGregor, C Joyce, S Óg Ó hAilpín; C O’Mahony, E Moynihan; C Buckley, P O’Rourke, K Buckley; P Gould, J Gardiner, S O’Sullivan. Subs: I McDonnell for S O’Sullivan (43).

SARSFIELDS: A Kennedy; R Ryan, J Barry, C English; W Kearney, C Leahy, T Crowley; D Kearney, R Duggan; D Roche, C McCarthy, G O’Loughlin; C Duggan, K Murphy, T Óg Murphy.

Subs: E O’Sullivan for K Murphy (ht, inj), G Grey for C English (49), J Flannery for R Duggan (53), I Burke for J Barry (55, inj).

Referee: D Kirwan (Éire Óg).

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