Crusheen (Clare) and Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) meet in the replay of the Munster Senior Club Hurling Final at Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The two sides drew at the Thurles venue last weekend and have to do it all over again to decide the destination of the provincial crown.
The experienced Clare side looked in control for much of last weekend’s encounter but the younger men from Na Piarsaigh battled back bravely and deserved a share of the spoils. Minor star Shane Dowling was the danger man for the Limerick club and he finished the afternoon with 1-7 of his side’s 1-11.
The scores will need to be spread more evenly in this replay, as Crusheen will be well aware of the threat Dowling now poses. He is certain to me closely marked this Sunday and may not be allowed the freedom he enjoyed in the drawn game. Having said all that, Crusheen were unable to stop the youngster seven days ago and will need to have come up with a new plan in the intervening period.
The Clare side have plenty of match winners in their own right, with the likes of David Forde and Pat Meaney impressing to date. Pat Vaughan scored 0-5 against Na Piarsaigh and will be hoping to add to that tally. The latter missed his first two chances from placed balls but after that he was deadly accurate and kept his side in the tie. Vaughan will again need to be on form if Crusheen are to claim their first provincial title at the second attempt.
There was very little between the two clubs last weekend and supporters can expect more of the same this Sunday. Na Piarsaigh may just be the happier camp, having come from behind to save the game.
The younger team will now have the belief that they are good enough at this level and it may be enough to get them over the line. Crusheen manager Michael Browne praised his side after the drawn game saying “The lads are exhausted because they put in a magnificent effort”. Much will depend on how fast the more experienced outfit recover from the previous week’s game.
A narrow vote is given to Na Piarsaigh to continue the momentum from the end of last weekend’s game and go on to claim their first Munster title at this level.