Coming up through the Rebel Óg age grades, this year’s Na Piarsaigh team always found that, while they were a good team, Sarsfields were a better one.
There was no disgrace in losing multiple finals to the Riverstown outfit, of course, but that wasn’t much consolation to the Northsiders. In this year’s Premierr 1 MHC, wins over Carbery and Bishopstown brought Na Piarsaigh to the semi-final stage, where they found their old blue-and-white foes waiting.
This time, though, history would not be repeated, as a 4-19 to 1-13 victory was achieved. With Killeagh/Ita’s seen off 5-9 to 0-10 in the county final, it meant a first top-level minor title for the club in 20 years as well as the September Rebel Óg award.
Na Piarsaigh captain Kyle Power makes no bones about the significance of beating Sars.
“It was our first time beating them in the championship,” he says, “and, after that, whatever team you put in front of us, they weren’t going to stop us.
“All the defeats from U12 up to U16, we lost county finals and the Féile final, I don’t think anyone could take it much more, we said, ‘Enough is enough now, this is our time to win it.’ To win a first minor county in 20 years was huge boost for the club and it’s a great achievement.”
Having suffered from slowish starts in earlier games, in the final they led 1-3 to 0-0 inside six minutes, but found Killeagh/Ita’s dogged opponents until a final-quarter surge.
“The way first 10 minutes went, we thought that we were flying,” Power says, but then they had their spell and the crowd got behind them.
“Thankfully, we got a good talking-to at half-time to settle ourselves down and kicked on from there. It’s all due really to the lads on the sideline. They knew what they were doing from the start and it all went to plan.”
And, with 10 of the team minor again next year, the 2017 plan could be largely the same. Power’s only regret is that he’s overage.
“If I was playing them next year anyway, I’d be very, very scared!” he laughs.
“The camogie team are in a final too and hopefully the momentum can keep going through the club. I hope every team looks at us and realises they can do it if they want to do it.”
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