Updated: Saturday, 08 Feb 2014 22:26 | Comments
- Brian Carthy reports on the draw between Ballysaggart and Creggan in the All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Final
- Sean Perry describes the dramatic scenes as Mt Leinster Rangers reach the All-Ireland Club Hurling Final
Galway’s Portumna are through to a fifth AIB All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship final.
The three-time winners have beaten Limerick outfit Na Piarsaigh in this evening’s second semi-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles.
Portumna drew on their vast reserves of experience to set up a final meeting with surprise packets Mount Leinster Rangers on St Patrick’s Day.
Joe Canning hit 0-09 for the winners but can consider himself fortunate to have stayed on the field in the first half, when a foul on David Dempsey prompted only a yellow card from referee James McGrath.
Canning hit three pointed frees in the first and in the second period, he clipped over six points, including a trademark sideline cut.
And that nine-point haul from the gifted 25-year-old played a big part in this Portumna win.
Portumna had too much craft and experience for Na Piarsaigh, who suffered All-Ireland semi-final heartbreak for the second time in three seasons.
The Limerick and Munster kingpins needed a big first half as they played with the aid of a strong breeze blowing into the Town End of the stadium from the off.
In front of 1820 spectators, Portumna won the toss, elected to play against the elements and they got off to the ideal start as Ronan O’Meara hit 1-01 early on.
Na Piarsaigh went desperately close to an early goal as Kevin Downes slammed a shot off the post in the first minute but it was that kind of day for Sean Stack’s side.
The teams were level three times in the first half and Portumna were on terms at the break, 1-06 to 0-09, in dreadful conditions.
That was a hugely acceptable result against the elements and Damien Hayes signalled their intent with a score within 16 seconds of the restart.
Munster GAA’s 2014 Young Hurler of the Year Ronan Lynch, a late call-up to the Na Piarsaigh starting line up in place of Damien Quigley, slashed over his second superb sideline cut to tie the scores once more, but when Portumna hit the front again, they would not be caught.
Portumna were 1-14 to 0-11 clear when Na Piarsaigh were awarded a penalty in the closing minutes.
Limerick star Shane Dowling netted to ensure a nervy finish but Portumna captain Ollie Canning, superb throughout, drew a late foul and brother Joe duly converted to seal his team’s passage to GAA HQ on St Patrick’s Day.
NA PIARSAIGH: P Kennedy; K Breen, C King, M Casey; N Buckley, D Breen, J O’Brien; A Dempsey, W O’Donoghue; K Kennedy, K Downes (0-02), D Dempsey; K Ryan (0-01), S Dowling (1-04, 1-00 pen, 0-04f), R Lynch (0-03, 2 sls).
Subs: P Gleeson (0-01) for Kennedy (27), D Sheppard for O’Donoghue (37), B Hartnett for Dempsey (53), J Madden for O’Brien (53).
PORTUMNA: J Keane; C O’Hare, E McEntee, G Heagney; P Smith, M Dolphin, E Lynch; L Smith, A Smith (0-01); K Hayes (0-01), D Hayes (0-01), O Canning (0-01); R O’Meara (1-02), J Canning (0-09, 7f, 1 sl), N Hayes.
Subs: O Treacy for N Hayes (60).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).