Na Piarsaigh 2-18
Limerick side Na Piarsaigh stormed to victory over Ballygunner in a thrilling Munster final clash which sees them crowned provincial champions once more.
Played in the sheering cold of Semple stadium in Thurles the Limerick side outgunned their Waterford based opponents with a blistering second half display.
The city team suffered a pre-game blow as centre forward Kevin Downes was ruled out of the fixture through injury.
The game got underway with Na Piarsaigh’s midfielder Alan Dempsey opening the scoring before Ballygunner took charge.
A couple of pointed frees from Brian O’Sullivan and even goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe meant that at the quarter hour mark the Waterford side were leading 0-5 to 0-2.
On the twenty minute mark Na Piarsaigh raced back into the lead when David Dempsey forced the ball home after confusion in the Ballygunner defence.
Ballygunner responded forcefully, and just on the half hour mark, a goal of their own had them back in front again. Again it was a mistake in defence but this time it was Na Piarsaigh to pay the price as Tim O’Sullivan clinically finished from an acute angle.
It meant that at the break Na Piarsaigh were left trailing by 1-7 to 1-4. They had failed to click into gear with Ballygunner limiting their chances in front of goal.
Na Piarsaigh looked an entirely different team as they took to the field in the second half, and they quickly got back in the driving seat with five unanswered points, a booming drive from Mick Foley the pick of the bunch.
A Brian O’Sullivan free attempted to turn the tide once more, but Na Piarsaigh were starting to hit their stride. Points from Shane Dowling and an excellent score from Peter Casey pulled them further away.
With fifty three minutes gone, and trailing by five, Ballygunner were thrown a lifeline when a Conor Power shot was redirected by Brian O’Sullivan to leave them just two behind.
Na Piarsaigh didn’t blink, and as their half back line continued to dominate they pushed on, with Ronan Lynch landing an improbable score from the right hand side.
With time almost up Shane Dowling finished the game off with an emphatic goal having raced away from two Ballygunner men, he powered the ball past the helpless Stephen O’Keeffe.
The Munster champions were good value for their win today as their second half performance will certainly give any team a run for their money. They must now wait patiently to learn who their next opponents are, as the Leinster championship has yet to be completed.