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Minor Hurling Championship S/F 2016 (John Coughlan)


                                         Na Piarsaigh           4-19

                                        Sarsfields                1-13

Na Piarsaigh produced champagne hurling that stunned championship favourites Sarsfields into submission in an absorbing Carrigaline Court Premier 1 Minor hurling championship semi final at the Mardyke last night.The huge attendance expected Sars to prevail but on the night they were outfought, outplayed and outscored by a rampant Na Piarsaigh side.

Sars went into this game with the favourities tag but Na Piarsaigh who had a horrible eight days prior to this game as they exited from the Senior hurling and Premier Intermediate football championships. The Farranree showed early energy but both teams shared four points in the opening six minutes.No doubt the biggest problem for Sars in the opening quarter was their shooting as they accumulated six wides.Credit to Na Piarsaigh they won the majority of dirty ball as Sars couldn’t match their intensity for long periods.

The performance of Na Piarsaigh’s Evan Sheehan deserves special mention and after striking over three points up to the 18thminute he scored a crucial goal with nine minutes remaining in the half.The pace of Dan Gunning saw him assist a perfect pass to Sheehan who billowed the back of the net with a ferocious shot.

Sars players looked out of sorts as Cork Minor panelists Jack O’Connor and Liam Healy were simply not in the game but in the last minute of the half they got two opportunities to raise a green flag. Consecutive shots from Patrick O’Driscoll and O’Connor were taken off the line as Na Piarsaigh went in at the break commanding a five-point lead 1-10 to 0-8.

Sars after accumulating 11 wides in the first half increased the tempo on the restart and with Na Piarsaigh dropping their intensity they allowed their opponents a lifeline in the 47th minute.A high ball towards Na Piarsaigh’s keeper wasn’t dealt with as Dylan Walsh followed through to force the ball over the line that reduced the deficit to two points 1-14 to 1-12.That’s as good as it got for Sars as their out of sorts team could only add one more point and their final tally of 17 wides tells its won story.

Dan Gunning is a joy to watch and his hard work was rewarded in the 51st minute when he drilled a low shot to the corner of the net following good work by Daniel McGuire.Na Piarsaigh moved up a gear and it was ironic McGuire would add two more goals in the closing three minutes that saw them totally demolish the Riverstown outfit.

Naturally Na Piarsaigh players and management were elated at the final whistle as manager Gearoid Daly reflected on his team’s heroic performance.

“We certainly didn’t expect to win by that margin but we never doubted the work rate of this squad and although many pundits in Cork would have written us off I think we proved this evening we are a decent side,” Gearoid said.

“We weren’t going well about three weeks ago and suddenly it all turned around as after a couple of challenge games the tempo was increasing within the squad.

“Our aim tonight was to win all second ball and the game panned out nicely for us against a very good Sars side.”    

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: E Sheehan 1-8 (0-6f), D McGuire 2-1, D Gunning 1-0, K Forde 0-3, C O’Connell 0-2, J Morrissey 0-2, B Murphy 0-2 C Hannifin 0-1.

Sarsfields: J O’Connor 0-4 (0-3f), D Walsh 1-1, T O’ Leary 0-3 (0-2f), P O’Driscoll 0-2, S O’Driscoll 0-2, C Murphy 0-1.

Na Piarsaigh: S O’Meara; D Roche, K Power, C Bowen; C O’Flynn; A Lehane; D Connery; J Morrissey, K Forde; D Gunning, P Buckley, C Hanniffin; E Sheehan, C O’Connell, D McGuire.Subs: B Murphy for P Buckley (46), L O’Donovan for S O’Meara (inj 48).

Sarsfields: C Looney; S Higgins, K Walsh, S Garvey; C Roche, K Crowley, S O’Driscoll; J O’Leary, R Hogan; S Dolan, D Walsh, L Healy; T O’Leary, J O’Connor, P O’Driscoll.Subs: C Murphy for R Hogan (22), S Higgins for L Healy (50).

Referee: Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).