Limerick senior hurling champions Na Piarsaigh qualified for another All-Ireland club championship semi-final following their 3-15 to 2-10 Munster final victory over Ballygunner in Thurles today.
It was their eleventh Munster club win in a row and their fourth provincial final win in seven years which brought them to second on the provincial roll of honour.
And while their eight point winning margin was well merited, they were slow to get going and in the early stages it seemed that the Waterford champions could exact some revenge for their loss to Na Piarsaigh at the same stage of the completion two years ago.
Ballygunner led by 1-4 to 0-6 at the interval and they could have been even further ahead were it not for the fact that the Limerick champions had the last three points of the opening half through Ronan Lynch, Peter Casey and Adrian Breen.
Na Piarsaigh took control when they scored 1-3 without reply in a six minute spell to lead by 1-9 to 1-7 in the 41st minute. Although Ballygunner reduced the deficit to a point, Na Piarsaigh hammered home their advantage on the hour mark with a goal by Adrian Breen and this was followed by another from David Breen.
The Munster champions will play Derry champions Robert Emmet’s of Slaughtneil in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: A Breen (1-5); D Breen (2-0); R Lynch (0-2 sc, 0-1 ’65), P Casey (0-3 each); K Downes (0-2); T Grimes, C Boylan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballygunner: P Hogan (1-2); C Power (1-0); B O’Keeffe (0-4, 0-1 free); Pauric Mahony (0-1 free), D O’Sullivan (0-2 each).
Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; I Kenny, B Coughlan, E Hayden; W Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, S Walsh; H Barnes, S O’Sullivan; D O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony, B O’Keeffe; P Hogan, JJ Hutchinson, C Power.
Subs: T O’Sullivan for Hutchinson (HT); B O’Sullivan for Walsh (54); G Brown for C Boylan (59)
Na Piarsaigh: P Kennedy; J Boylan, M Casey, N Buckley; A Dempsey, C King, T Grimes; R Lynch, W O’Donoghue; C Boylan, D Breen, D Dempsey; P Casey, K Downes, A Breen.
Subs: K Ryan for D Dempsey (43 mins, inj); C Sheahan for David O’Sullivan (63).
Referee: R McGann (Clare).