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Six years have passed since David Dempsey sat at Parnell Park as a spectator when Na Piarsaigh were amazed by Loughgiel Shamrocks at the AIB All-Ireland club SHC semi-final but it’s a painful experience he will not forget.

Dempsey recalls the Limerick city team being “absolutely blown away” by the passion of their Antrim side – on the pitch and in the stands – and also the free-scoring forwards is expecting something comparable from Derry’s Slaughtneil in Saturday’s last-four clash.

Na Piarsaigh reunite to Parnell Park but similar to 2012, they are old hands at this stage having claimed honours two years ago and maintained a remarkable 100pc album – with four titles in six months – when toppling Ballygunner at November.

The wins are rarely what is remembered, however, and Dempsey recalls the “huge disappointment” that followed their maiden All-Ireland triumph as they dropped to Kilmallock and Doon and were denied a spot at the knock-out phases of this Limerick SHC.

It’s something you would like to rectify big time this season, we had a enormous appetite and ambition merely to get out of the group and take it game by game, thankfully we have got to this stage with our skill,” he said.

A large factor has been the commitment of manager Shane O’Neill – that had been at the running for the Limerick senior occupation now held by John Kiely and also had other inter-county supplies – and his backroom team to stay on for one more year since Dempsey believed it would have “ended on a sour note”.

“When they left then it would have perhaps stopped on a sour note. There would have been… the All-Ireland would have went under the radar because of what happened later. Happily they stayed on this season and that the players have given full co-operation,” the 22-year-old said.

“We’ve all completely bought into it since we understand the talent we have and we all know that if we provide 100pc daily that we’re likely to be there at the latter phases of the Limerick senior championship and once we do that, it’s everyone for themselves.”

Nearly three months have passed since their Munster triumph with no collective excursions in December since they worked in “mini pods of eight or seven” prior to a New Year’s Day reunite which felt “as a new effort”.

The marketing manager can see either side of this coin although much has been said concerning a calendar-year club programme.

“It’s tough. There is plenty of pros and cons to it. Personally, (it’s) the challenge of trying to reach Paddy’s Day just like,” Dempsey said.

“I have been there and it had been the best afternoon of my life likely so it’s a day I dream of getting there again. However, you may see why the authorities want to (run it in a calendar year) when you see the way things are moving at inter-county level and the golf club, the fittings is a mess.”

Dempsey, who struck against Clare is delighted with the Treaty’s positive start but Slaughtneil is the thought.

With All-Star forwards Shane Dowling “re-energising the whole squad” after coming out of a 14-week knee injury lay-off, the Na Piarsaigh juggernaut is not likely to be derailed at this juncture with the Tommy Moore Cup in sight.

Irish Independent

Practice @IndoSport

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