BY THEIR own admission, Na Piarsaigh will need to improve on the form which recently earned them an eighth Limerick Senior Club Hurling Championship title if hot-pots Ballygunner (Waterford) are to be beaten in the semi-final of the provincial competition at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday (4pm).
Shane O’Neill’s side, however, have an abundance of talent with the likes of Mike Casey (captain), goalkeeper Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes, David Dempsey, Will O’Donoghue, Conor Boylan, Adrian Breen, and Peter Casey etc. If key players hit form, coupled with home advantage, a surprise is easily possible.
Three-in-a-row seeking Ballygunner easily dispatched with the feeble challenge of Sarsfields (Cork) in the opening round, an outing in which Pauric Mahony, Patrick Fitzgerald, and Dessie Hutchison were on scoring fire, while others such as Philip Mahony, Conor Sheahan, and Kevin Mahony also impressed.
As for this weekend’s massive contest, Gunners manager Darragh O’Sullivan commented: “I think it’s exciting for everybody, it’s exciting for us, exciting for them, exciting for the public. Na Piarsaigh are a serious team and we look forward to that challenge again.”
“It’s going to be two juggernauts coming against each other, and it’s something to be excited about.”
Michael Kennedy (Tipperary) will referee.
In the other semi-final, Clonlara (Clare) are expected to come through against Tipperary’s Kiladangan at Semple Stadium, Thurles (2pm).
Both fixutres are live on TG4.
Elsewhere, Peter Ryan leads Dromin-Athlacca into action in Corofin (Clare) in the Intermediate Championship, while Feenagh-Kilmeedy are at The Banner in a grade lower.
On the local scene, Monaleen squeezed-past Ballybrown, 2-13 to 1-15, in the final of the Junior B Hurling Championship.
For the winners, Max Ivory stroked over six frees and Dylan Crowe grabbed 1-2. Cian O’Dwyer and Conor Nicholas were important figures for Monaleen, the pair both having returned from overseas for the important fixture.