Na Piarsaigh travelled to Mick Neville Park, Rathkeale as underdogs for the U15 Division 1 hurling county final against Murroe Boher on Saturday 16th September 2023. Murroe Boher had won the county Féile competition in early April and when the sides met a few weeks later in the first round of the county championship Murroe Boher won a keenly contested match by three points. However, since that match Na Piarsaigh had gone undefeated in the county championship over the next four months and had progressed significantly as a team.
On a fine Autumn day in Rathkeale, the opening exchanges of the county final were tentative with Murroe Boher settling first. The first quarter was low scoring with both sides registering a point each, the cross-field wind made it difficult for point-taking for both sides. However, Na Piarsaigh soon got into their stride and by halftime were on top in most areas of the field and led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the short whistle. We should perhaps have been further ahead for our possession and dominance in the first half.
We pushed on in the second half and extended the lead with further excellent points. Alex Kearns was unerring from frees from all angles and distances. Moving into the third quarter the Na Piarsaigh backs were comfortable dealing with all Murroe Boher attacks and never allowing any threat to our goal. David O’Keeffe at centre back gave a captain’s display showing great anticipation of the next play and making numerous clearances from the backline. We worked hard all over the field, dominating in the air and on the ground, tackling with purpose and discipline exemplified by Danny Sheahan emerging from many rucks with the sliotar.
When referee Michael Browne blew the final whistle Na Piarsaigh had won by 0-15 to 0-6, holding Murroe to only two points in the second half. There were joyous scenes from the Na Piarsaigh players, back-room team, and supporters who celebrated a great team performance. Pat Davoren of Limerick GAA presented the cup to the Na Piarsaigh captain David O’Keeffe.
Na Piarsaigh: Bobby Collins, Conor Kelly, Marcus Murphy, Joe Kehoe, David Murphy, David O’Keeffe, Ferdia O’Brien, Danny Sheahan, Shane Waters, Cillian Chawke, Alex Kearns, Sean O’Brien, Alex Harris, Conor Bermingham, Sean Connolly, subs introduced: Charlie Ryan and Ferdia Minihane, subs: Fin Conlon, Eoin O’Sullivan, Odhran Gilroy, Edmund Hillary, James McGann, Ben Murray, Cian Maloney, Rian McHugh, Sean Hickey, Aodh Keating, Daragh McCarthy, Darragh Kirwan, Eric Patton.
Management/coaches: Cathal Minihane, Cathall King, Will Henn, Gearoid Synnott, Kevin Daly, Tom Murphy, Brian Kehoe, Hugh Kelly. First aid: Aonghus McGann