All-Ireland club SHC: 13-man Na Piarsaigh survive Slaughtneil scare to reach final

February 10, 2018

Na Piarsaigh's Niall Buckley is blocked by Conor McAllister of Slaughtneil.
©INPHO/Oisin Keniry.

Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) 3-15

Slaughtneil (Derry) 3-8

Na Piarsaigh were given a huge scare by Slaughtneil before progressing to the All-Ireland club SHC final at Parnell Park.

Slaughtneil looked poised to cause a massive upset after Na Piarsaigh had Conor Boylan and Tommy Grimes sent off in the space of two minutes at the start of the second half following separate incidents, but with Ronan Lynch firing 0-14 in a flawless display of marksmanship and half-time sub Shane Dowling announcing his return from injury with a spectacular 52nd minute goal, the 13-men dug out a famous victory.

2016 All-Ireland champions Na Piarsaigh knew they were in a game when Cormac O'Doherty converted a penalty after Brendan Rodgers had been pulled down to give Slaughtneil a 1-4 to 0-3 lead after 17 minutes. But the Limerick city side regained parity five minutes later when Conor Boylan collected an Adrian Breen delivery and rattled the net.

However, the Derry champions then struck for their second goal from Brian Cassidy after Rodgers had teed him up to take a 2-6 to 1-6 lead into the interval.

Na Piarsaigh resumed with a brace of Ronan Lynch points before they were dealt a seemingly fatal double blow when Boylan and Grimes were both shown red cards for off-the-ball incidents in the 33rd and 35th minutes. But they showed tremendous resilience to open up a 2-11 to 2-6 lead with Kevin Downes getting in behind the Emmet's defence to score their second goal.

The winners were purring now and were awarded a penalty through Peter Casey in the 47th minute, but Ronan Lynch's shot was saved by Oisin O'Doherty.

They didn't have long to wait for their third goal with Dowling's stunning strike extending their lead to 3-12 to 2-8. 

Gerald Bradley pulled a goal back with two minutes remaining for a Slaughtneil side who will realise they missed a glorious opportunity to reach the final.

Na Piarsaigh - P Kennedy; N Buckley, M Casey, J Boylan; A Dempsey, C King, T Grimes; R Lynch (0-14, 0-11f), W O'Donoghue; C Boylan (1-0), D Breen, D Dempsey; P Casey (0-1), K Downes (1-0), A Breen. Subs: S Dowling (1-0) for A Breen, K Ryan for D Breen, K Kennedy for D Dempsey, G Brown for K Downes.

Slaughtneil - O O'Doherty; K McKaigue, S Cassidy, P McNeill; S McGuigan, C McKaigue (0-1), C McKenna; E Cassidy, M McGrath (0-1); B Rodgers (0-1), C O'Doherty (1-3, 1-0pen, 0-2f), M McGuigan; G Bradley (1-0), B Cassidy (1-2), C McAllister. Sub: G O'Kane for C McAllister.

Referee - J Keenan.

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