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Na Piarsaigh's Kevin Downes hails Munster title win as sweetest yet

Na Piarsaigh’s Kevin Downes as described their latest Munster Club Hurling title triumph as the sweetest yet, writes Brendan O’Brien.

The Limerick champions claimed a fourth provincial crown – all inside the last seven seasons – with an eight-point defeat of Waterford’s Ballygunner at Thurles’ Semple Stadium this afternoon.

Yet the scoreboard disguised an affair that was much more closely contested with the losers leading by a point at half-time and trailing by just three as the clock wound its way into four minutes of added time.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Downes. “It’s only after the game now but it feels like the sweetest one yet. Definitely in Munster anyway. It was a serious battle and we knew it would be coming up here. At half-time we were disappointed.

“We felt we had played within ourselves but, fair play to Ballygunner, they were responsible for a lot of it. Even at the start of the second-half they thundered into it and we just had to dig in.

“We’ve been around the block a few times now and we just dug the heels in and it was a fantastic second-half performance. There is no point saying otherwise. We really dug it out and that’s why it is really one to be proud of. It’s really sweet.”

Na Piarsaigh’s last half-hour was little short of breathtaking.

Having conceded the first three points after the interval, the Limerick side went on to hit 3-9 in response to just 1-3 from the Deise representatives. It is a win that stretches their record of never having lost a Munster game to 11.

“It is incredible but even this week or at any time in this Munster campaign we haven’t looked at that,” said Downes. “To go four campaigns unbeaten, looking at it now, it is unbelievable.

“It’s fairly unique to have that behind you but every game is on its merit. The record was no good to us today and we knew that. It wasn’t going to have any impact on it. If anything, it is about a savage hunger and a savage will to win.”