There was a major shock on the club hurling scene in Limerick this weekend. All-Ireland senior club hurling champions Na Piarsaigh’s reign as county, provincial and national kingpins ended last night after they were knocked out of the Limerick SHC.
Despite enjoying a comfortable win over South Liberties on Friday night, Ballybrown’s win over Doon means the city side, who have won three county titles in the last five years have been eliminated at the group stage.
Ballybrown defeating Doon was seen as a shock but Doon were without the services of a number of starters including Limerick senior trio Richie English, Pat Ryan and Darragh O’Donovan, all of whom won an All-Ireland under-21 title last year. Those three players spent the summer in the USA.
Doon were also down three other starters, all of whom have represented Limerick at various levels.
Missing so many top players was an obstacle too big to overcome as Ballybrown powered to a 1-15 to 0-9 win with a 52nd minute Bryan Griffin goal being the key score to seal the win.
Ballybrown’s win puts them on seven points, alongside Kilmallock (who were All-Ireland finalists in 2015) at the top of the group. Doon are on six points, two ahead of Na Piarsaigh’s four, with one round to go. However the last round will not save the All-Ireland champions. Even if Doon and Na Piarsaigh finish level on six points, the champions will be eliminated on the head-to-head having lost to Doon earlier in the campaign.
Na Piarsaigh will get their chance at revenge against both teams in the coming weeks as they play Ballybrown in the final group game on the weekend of September 10/11 and face Doon in a hotly anticipated Premier under-21 final the following weekend. But in the senior ranks, the All-Ireland club champions will not be defending their titles.