TWO YEARS on from their maiden All-Ireland success, David Dempsey and Na Piarsaigh are one game away from contesting their second club final.
For a club who only won their first senior county title in 2011, Na Piarsaigh’s rise to prominence has been a remarkable one. In the past six seasons, they’ve won three senior county titles, three Munster crowns as well as the Tommy Moore Cup.
Wing-forward Dempsey recalls being in the Gaelic Grounds as a 14-year-old in 2009, when the club made its first ever Limerick SHC Final appearance.
“I remember being in the stands that day and it was an awful hammering,” he says of the heavy 1-17 to 0-3 beating they shipped to Adare nine years ago.
“There was no tradition. 2009 was the first county final, but 2011 was a huge breakthrough for us – just to get the first county title.
“We’ve a core group of players there from 18 to 25 or 26 that have been really successful for the last six or seven years. We’re all at a good age and we’re looking to keep driving forward.
“We’re not taking anything for granted. We’re under no illusions that any day we go out we can be stopped. You can only see that by our recent record in Limerick that we haven’t been able to do back-to-back.
“Limerick in itself is very competitive and there are four or five teams who are all as strong as each other. Absolutely, if we can make hay as long as the sun is shining that’s what our aim is.”
Dempsey played at full-forward for their 2-25 to 2-14 St Patrick’s Day victory over Cushendall in 2016, an occasion that will live long in the memory.
“It was absolutely surreal, it’s indescribable. I was playing with my brother and all my best friends – people you’re playing with all over your life.
“It was a relief for us to get to Croke Park after failing in 2012 and 2014, to get there in itself is an achievement at this standard. To finally get over the line in 2016 and finally be the first Limerick club to win the All-Ireland was unbelievable. It’s something we’ll definitely cherish for the rest of our lives.
“We’ve the experience of two years ago and finally getting over the line. Maybe we’re not putting ourselves under as much pressure to try get the victory this time around.”
Na Piarsaigh’s David Dempsey was speaking ahead of the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship Semi Final taking place at Parnell Park this Saturday, February 10th.