NA PIARSAIGH’S bid to land a fifth Munster Club Hurling title came unstuck at the semi-final stage when holders Ballygunner of Waterford staged a superb comeback to emerge 2-20 to 2-15 winners at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
Opening-half goals from Keith Dempsey and Jerome Boylan helped the Limerick kingpins into a healthy 2-11 to 1-9 interval advantage.
Kieran Bermingham’s side, however, were restricted to just points in the closing half as the visitors turned happenings completely around.
Pauric Mahony was easily the stand-out player on show, contributing three settling points on the restart in an overall contribution of 0-13. Ballygunner’s goal too was crucial, arriving midway through the second-half from teenager Patrick Fitzgerald.
Na Piarsaigh’s disappointment turned to concern afterwards following an injury picked-up by Mike Casey, the All-Star nominated full-back forced to leave the final inside the last few minutes. Casey only returned to the county setup this season after missing both the All-Ireland winning campaigns of 2020 and ’21 with a cruciate problem.
Casey had been brilliant for both club and county throughout 2022.
Next weekend, Na Piarsaigh have a home Munster Intermediate Football semi-final date with Tipperary’s Ballina.
Elsewhere, there was better returns from both Monaleen and St. Kieran’s who have qualified for Munster Hurling Finals the weekend after next.
At Kilmallock’s Fitzgerald Park, Mark O’Dwyer (1-6, with his majestic goal already viewed several thousand times on social media) shone like a beacon as Monaleen overcame St. Joseph’s Doora-Barefield, 2-13 to 0-16. Eoin Brislane’s side now run-up against Roscrea of Tipperary in the decider.
At Cusack Park in Ennis, super fit St. Kieran’s accounted for Banner, 0-17 to 0-16, after extra-time. Chris Madigan’s team will meet holders Ballygiblin of Cork in the final.