Ballygunner end Na Piarsaigh’s Munster hopes with devastating win:

By John Keogh Limerick Leader Sport

NA PIARSIAGH are out of the Munster Club SHC at the semi-final stage following a 0-16 to 1-9 defeat to Ballygunner at the TUS Gaelic Grounds this Sunday evening.

Ballygunner had Pauric Mahony to thank for their victory with 11 points from centre forward as the Waterford men roared into the final where they will play Clare’s Clonlara.

The Waterford side led by one at the break but were by far the better side. Na Piarsaigh rallied late on with Adrian Breen’s goal but it came too late for them to mount a serious comeback.

Pauric Mahony opened the scoring for Ballygunner inside 60 seconds with a free but a fine Will Henn effort from play soon had Na Piarsaigh back on level terms.

Ballygunner then fashioned a goal chance with Dessie Hutchinson in on goal but he was denied by a stunning low save by Na Piarsaigh netminder Shane Dowling.

Another placed ball by the Ballygunner number 11 saw the Waterford side back in front on seven minutes. A Ronan Lynch free squared the game up for a second time soon after. However, Mahony’s third of the game put Ballygunner back in the ascendancy.

Ronan Power then popped up with a long range point to put two between the teams for the first time but an excellent Adrian Breen effort put the bare minimum between the sides on 17 minutes.

Ballygunner then upped the page with two from Mahony and a superb strike from play by Hutchinson that saw them into a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage.

Na Piarsaigh were struggling to create anything from play at that stage but had the reliable Lynch in good form from frees. He put over two frees and a ’65 to leave just one point in it at the break.

It was Ballygunner that started the second half on the front foot with Mahony landing two, before Lynch got Na Piarsaigh on the board with a ’65.

Dowling kept his side in the game with another stunning stop, this time from Power, as Na Piarsaigh struggled to live with Ballygunner’s intensity.

Hutchinson, Mahony, Harry Ruddle and Mahony again all hit the target to stretch the Ballygunner lead to seven. It was at eight soon after and Ballygunner earned the win despite the late rally and were full value for it.

SCORERS – NA PIARSAIGH: Ronan Lynch 0-7 (0-6 frees, ’65), Adrian Breen 1-1, Will Henn 0-1.

SCORERS – BALLYGUNNER: Pauric Mahony 0-11 (0-6 frees, 0-2 ’65), Ronan Power and Dessie Hutchinson 0-2 each, Harry Ruddle 0-1.

NA PIARSAIGH: Shane Dowling; Emmet McEvoy; Mike Casey, Cathal King; Vince Harrington, Will O’Donoghue, Mike Foley; Conor Boylan, JJ Carey; Kevin Downes, Peter Casey, David Dempsey; Will Henn, Ronan Lynch, Adrian Breen.
SUBS: Keith Dempsey for Carey (43 mins), John Fitzgerald for Foley (48 mins, inj), Wayne Kearns for King (51 mins),

BALLYGUNNER: Stephen O’Keeffe; Ian Kenny, Barry Coughlan, Tadhg Foley; Shane O’Sullivan, Phillip Mahony, Ronan Power; Conor Sheahan, Paddy Leavey; Mikey Mahony, Pauric Mahony, Peter Hogan; Dessie Hutchinson, Kevin Mahony, Patrick Fitzgerald.
SUBS: Harry Ruddle for Fitzgerald (46 mins), Billy O’Keeffe for Hogan (60 mins),

REFEREE: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary).