IN THE most anticipated fixture of the Munster Senior Club Hurling Championship in some time, Na Piarsaigh will host All-Ireland Champions Ballygunner of Waterford in the provincial semi-final at the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday (throw-in 3.15pm).
It’s a repeat of the cracking 2018 Munster Final when the Waterford champions scraped a win at Semple Stadium. Adding to the attraction is the fact that both Ballygunner and Na Piarsaigh are recent winners of the All-Ireland Championship.
Jerome Boylan is an injury concern for Kieran Bermingham managed Na Piarsaigh, but others are in flying form. Mike Casey, Mike Foley, Ronan Lynch, Will O’Donoghue (captain), Kevin Downes, Peter Casey and Adrian Breen, man-of-the-match in the county final win over holders Kilmallock, are poised and ready to take up the challenge.
As anticipated, the Gunners easily dispatched with the challenge of Kilruane MacDonaghs (Tipperary) in the championship opener a fortnight ago, a contest in which the likes of joint-captains Ian Kenny and Desie Hutchinson, and stalwarts Kevin Mahony, Peter Hogan, Pauric Mahony, Harry Ruddle, and teenager Patrick Fitzgerald, excelled throughout.
Not surprisingly, nine-in-a-row county winners Ballygunner have been chalked-up as slight favourites, but Na Piarsaigh easily have the potential to cause a wee upset on home turf in a few days’ time.
Colm Lyons of Cork will referee.
Before the start in Limerick, one of the finalists will already be known as the Ballyea (Clare) against St Finbarr’s of Cork semi-final has a 1.15pm start at Cusack Park, Ennis.
The Munster Final is scheduled for the first weekend in December.
Na Piarsaigh will aim to take heart from the weekend win by their footballers over Waterford opposition (Roanmore) in the semi-final of the Munster Intermediate Championship at Kilmallocks’ Fitzgerald Park.
Evan Sweeney was the standout player, banging home two goals in the closing half.
Na Piarsaigh have been drawn at home to Ballina (Tipperary) in the semi-final.