Munster club SHC final: Breen stars as Na Piarsaigh crowned champions again

November 19, 2017

Ballygunner's Billy O'Keeffe and Cathal King of Na Piarsaigh.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) 3-15 

Ballygunner (Waterford) 2-10

Adrian Breen scored 1-5 in a man of the match display as Na Piarsaigh repeated their 2015 victory over 14-man Ballygunner at Semple Stadium to claim their fourth Munster club SHC title in seven years.

Trailing by a point at the interval, the Limerick city outfit turned on the style after the restart to maintain their remarkable record of having never lost a game in the provincial series. Ballygunner, who were seeking their first Munster title since 2001, had no answer to Na Piarsaigh's second half onslaught and they finished the game with 14 players after Barry Coughlan received a second yellow card in the closing stages following an incident involving David Breen.

Adrian Breen and Billy O'Keeffe traded early points before Tommy Grimes and David O'Sullivan did likewise. A slip by corner back Jerome Boylan allowed Conor Power to get in for the final's opening goal in the 10th minute as Fergal Hartley's men opened up a 1-2 to 0-2 lead. When Pauric Mahony, who missed four first half frees, pointed in the 15th minute, the Waterford kingpins were four points up, but Na Piarsaigh finished the half strongly to trail by the minimum at half-time, 0-6 to 1-4.

Ballygunner resumed with three unanswered points from Pauric Mahony, Peter Hogan and Billy O'Keeffe to restore their four-point advantage, but they conceded 3-10 from the 34th minute onwards as Shane O'Neill's charges took control.

Kevin Downes teed up David Breen for a goal before Adrian Breen edged them a point in front, 1-8 to 1-7, in the 37th minute. The Limerick champions had extended their lead to 1-13 to 1-9 by the 58th minute when Peter Hogan netted to bring Ballygunner back into contention.

But almost immediately, Adrian Breen replied with a scrambled goal for the winners before David Breen applied the coup de grace with their third major in injury-time.

Na Piarsaigh - P Kennedy; J Boylan, M Casey, N Buckley; A Dempsey, C King, T Grimes (0-1); R Lynch (0-3, 2sl, 1'65), W O'Donoghue; C Boylan (0-1), D Breen (2-0), D Dempsey; P Casey (0-3), K Downes (0-2), A Breen (1-5). Subs: K Ryan for D Dempsey, G Brown for C Boylan.

Ballygunner - S O'Keeffe; I Kenny, B Coughlan, E Hayden; W Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, S Walsh; H Barnes, S O'Sullivan; D O'Sullivan (0-2), Pauric Mahony (0-2, 1f), B O'Keeffe (0-4, 1f); P Hogan (1-2), JJ Hutchinson, C Power (1-0). Subs: Barry O'Sullivan for S Walsh, C O'Sullivan for C Power, C Sheehan for D O'Sullivan.

Referee - R McGann.

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