Na Piarsaigh return to form to set up a Northside showdown with Glen Rovers

Na Piarsaigh return to form to set up a Northside showdown with Glen Rovers
Kyle Power, Na Piarsaigh, is first to react to this breaking ball ahead of Steven Sherlock, St Finbarr’s, during their Premier SHC match at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Dan Linehan

Na Piarsaigh 2-23 St Finbarr's 0-17 

NA Piarsaigh stormed into contention for a place in the knock-out phase of the Co Op Superstores county premier senior hurling championship after a 12-point victory over St Finbarr's at Páirc Uí Rinn.

A couple of Shane Forde goals in either half and Evan Sheehan's accuracy from placed balls and play proved decisive as they moved to second place in the group with a mouth-watering tie against Glen Rovers to come.

Goalkeeper Luke Donovan earned his corn, too, with a series of important saves and while full-back Adam Dennehy had to cope with the in-form Brian Hayes, scorer of 0-6 from play, the Na Piarsaigh defender made one critical block just before the second water break.

Dennehy typified his side's defiance and spirited determination by throwing his body in the way of a powerful shot from substitute Jack O'Kelly with Na Piarsaigh 2-16 to 0-15 ahead.

Billy Hennessy, St Finbarr’s, fighting for this breaking ball with Keith Buckley, Na Piarsaigh. Picture: Dan Linehan
Billy Hennessy, St Finbarr’s, fighting for this breaking ball with Keith Buckley, Na Piarsaigh. Picture: Dan Linehan

Moments before the outstanding Daire Connery pointed gloriously from distance to keep his team seven points in front.

Na Piarsaigh led by 1-12 to 0-11 at half-time, starting impressively only for the Barrs to finish the first period strongly by scoring six of the last eight points in a hectic conclusion.

The north side club were five points clear at the water break, Forde's fifth minute goal, off the stick of keeper Shane Hurley, helping them to a 1-6 to 0-4 advantage.

The lead stretched to seven within a minute of the re-start, including a monster point from Christopher Joyce, and it crept to eight after an Evan Sheehan free in the 24th minute, 1-10 to 0-5.

The Barrs, though, twice bagged a set of three points with Hayes a regular threat full-forward and midfielder Ethan Twomey and Jack Cahalane also hitting the target.

And when brother Damien, who started at centre-forward, pointed a huge free from the right in the closing act, the Barrs had reduce the deficit to four at the interval.

Forde kicked in his second goal after 34 minutes from a long Connery free as the Barrs could only add two more points in the closing quarter.

They sit bottom of the group and must overcome Carrigtwohill to avoid being dragged into a relegation final.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Evan Sheehan 0-9 (0-6 f), S Forde 2-2, D Connery 0-3 (0-1 f, 0-1 65), C Hanafin 0-3, P Guest 0-2, C Joyce, D Gunning, K Moynihan, K Forde 0-1 each.

St Finbarr's: B Hayes 0-6, C Cahalane 0-5 f, J Cahalane and C Barrett 0-2 each, E Twomey 0-1, D Cahalane 0-1 f.

NA PIARSAIGH: L Donovan; Anthony Dennehy, Adam Dennehy, K Power; G Joyce, C Joyce (c), D Connery; K Forde, K Buckley; S Forde, E Sheehan, K Moynihan; E Sheehan, D Gunning, P Guest. 

Subs: C Hanafin for Eoin Sheehan injured 22, C Healy for Buckley 50, E Hanafin for Gunning injured 59. 

ST FINBARR'S: S Hurley; C Walsh, J Burns, O Murphy; G O'Connor, E Keane, C Barrett; B Hennessy, E Twomey; E Finn, D Cahalane, C Cahalane; S Sherlock, B Hayes, J Cahalane. 

Subs: R O'Mahony for Walsh 36, J O'Kelly for Sherlock 40. 

Referee: D Copps (Ballyhea)

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