Once a formidable force in Limerick hurling, Patrickswell have not been contenders in recent times. Their last county final success was in 2003, while their last final appearance was in 2006. Club legend Ciarán Carey took over the managerial role earlier this year and he is delighted how things have panned out. His team are unbeaten so far in the championship.
“When I came in, I set goals. One of them was the players had to show the proper respect for hurling and they had to show the proper respect and the love for the jersey they were wearing. That was my goal and the rest looked after itself.”
He admitted to expecting a bigger challenge from Adare.
“We didn’t feel we would get it as easy as we did today. We have been doing our own bit of work nice and quietly in the background. We were ready to play a couple of weeks ago so we had to put the handbrake on the lads for a few nights. They were ready to rock.”
Rock they did. For a start, Diarmuid Byrnes and Jack Kelleher tallied 14 points between them — the centre-back and midfielder respectively. That says a lot, but as a team they also play an open and expansive game that allowed for some spectacular point-scoring. They will be hoping for a repeat performance against a Na Piarsaigh side that has won two of the last four deciders (2011 and 2013) and were runners-up a year ago.
Ger Hegarty’s Adare will be massively disappointed with their display. After 10 minutes, it was obvious they were in trouble. It was two points apiece but Patrickswell were dominant, with their half-back line and midfield on top. They hit six unanswered points from Thomas O’Brien, Andrew Carroll, Kevin O’Brien, Kelleher and Byrnes (2). Leading 0-9 to 0-3, they started to pull away. Carroll won possession out the field and his delivery was superbly finished by Lar Considine in the 19th minute. A second goal followed from Thomas O’Brien after Shane O’Donoghue’s short puck out to Liam Costello went astray, and sadly that just summed up their day.
Patrickswell led 2-14 to 0-4 at half-time and any hopes of a comeback were dashed when the commanding Byrnes rifled over a 65m within a minute of the restart as all six forwards got on the scoresheet. Adare did try to rescue matters, they moved Declan Hannon into full forward and even pushed Wayne McNamara up to the attack but there was no sign of a turnaround, albeit points did arrive from John Fitzgibbon and Andrew O’Connell.
Patrickswell just pressed on the gas again striking seven points on the trot. Finding lots of space and also benefitting from Cian Lynch’s ability to set up attacks from centre-forward, they went on to lead by 2-23 to 0-6 with 20 minutes left. And while they only added a point thereafter, it was more of job already done.
Cian Lynch was substituted around the three-quarter juncture but according to boss Carey, it was mere precaution because of a dead leg.
“We have one more fence to jump and if we jump it, absolutely fantastic,” said Carey. “But from where we were at the start of the year, we are extremely pleased to be preparing for a county final. But I am under no illusion. We all realise Na Piarsaigh are without doubt the strongest club in Limerick. We are relishing the challenge and looking forward to it.”
J Kelleher (three frees) and D Byrnes (four frees, two 65s) (0-7 each), L Considine (1-3), T O’Brien (1-2), A Gillane (0-2), C Lynch, K O’Brien and A Carroll (0-1 each).
W Griffin (0-3, two frees), D Sexton, J Gahan, J Fitzgibbon, A O’Connell and D Hannon (0-1 each).
B Murray; K Lynch, B Foley (Capt), J Carrig; M Carmody, D Byrnes, N Foley; S O’Brien, J Kelleher; A Gillane, C Lynch, A Carroll; T O’Brien, K O’Brien, L Considine.
T Sheehan for C Lynch (48), P Harty for S O’Brien, T Nolan for J Carrig (both 52), O McNamara for N Foley (60).
S O’Donoghue; E Costello, J Hannon, L Costello; D Sexton, W McNamara, J Gahan; J Fitzgibbon, N Mulvihill; A O’Connell, D Hannon, C McCarthy; M Mackey, W Griffin (Capt), L O’Brien.
R Kennedy for C McCarthy (22).
Jason Mullins (St Kieran’s).