Kilmallock and Na Piarsaigh primed for memorable hurling final

Rival captains in Sunday's Senior Hurling Final, Will O'Donoghue of Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock's Oisín O'Reilly.

AFTER an exciting county hurling championship, holders Kilmallock and favourites Na Piarsaigh meet in the final on the impressive new resurfaced pitch at the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday at 4.15pm.

The weekend final represents only the third ever meeting of the sides at the last hurdle. Both have a win apiece with Na Piarsaigh triumphing in 2017 and Kilmallock three years earlier. 

It’s all of 12 weeks since the two teams met in the group phase of the championship, Na Piarsaigh coming through by a solitary point (1-19 to 1-18) in the opening days of August. 

Both teams subsequently qualified directly for the semi-finals, where they accounted for plucky South Liberities and luckless Doon respectively. 

Kieran Bermingham’s Na Piarsaigh have been installed as clear-cut favourites to win at the weekend, which is not surprising given he (along with Declan Fanning, Paul Condon, Diarmuid Madigan, and Conor Shiels) has such rich talent at his disposal through Mike Casey, Jerome Boylan, Mike Foley, captain Will O’Donoghue, Kevin Downes, Peter Casey, Conor Boylan, and Adrian Breen. 

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Na Piarsaigh are no strangers to victory, having triumphed Shannonside in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

That the Fintan O’Connor, Eoin Ryan, and Paul Tobin managed Kilmallock are such serious underdogs won’t unduly bother the south flagbearers, whose own riches include Philip O’Loughlin, Aaron Costello, Paddy O’Loughlin, Robbie Hanley, Graeme Mulcahy captain Oisín O’Reilly, Shane O’Brien, and Micheál Houlihan. 

Kilmallock are aiming to successful defend their title, but it certainly won’t be easy against such star-studded opposition. 

The Balbec have tasted outright victories in 1960, 1967, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1985, 1992, 1994, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2021 to rest third in the roll-of-honour with 12 titles.

With all options weighed-up, the pointers are towards Na Piarsaigh claiming the championship for a seventh occasion. 

Johnny Murphy of Glenroe will referee proceedings. 

Limerick’s 1997 National League winning team will be introduced to the anticipated 7,000 attendance during the half-time break with the Liam MacCarthy Cup, along with some our newest All-Stars also set to be in attendance. 

There is television coverage on TG4, while Live 95 will have radio commentary.