NA PIARSAIGH manager Shane O’Neill was “really stressed” this history was repeating itself in Parnell Park.
The Munster champions trailed by three points in half-time and feared that a repeat of their jolt 2012 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Antrim unwanted Loughgiel Shamrocks.
Things got really horrible for its All-Ireland favourites if they lost Conor Boylan along with Tommy Grimes to red cards after the restart.
But the Limerick men conjured their best hurling with just 13 men and Ronan Lynch’s 14-point haul helped fasten a March 17 last place.
Boss O’Neill explained: “I wasn’t even concerned with the 1 dismissal — but as soon as the second one happened, I was quite stressed. ”
And he admitted thoughts of the 2012 beat.
He continued: “It did go through my mind — it’s been going through my mind for the previous 12 months to be frank.
“Perhaps we were a bit haunted by this before half-time but also the composure and the direction shown — they were just fabulous. ”
O’Neill conceded his team’s first-half display was as bad because he’so seen.
He added: &ldquoWe lost every one of the 50-50s, every breaking ball. ”
Apart from Lynch, Shane Dowling was in flying form. He came on as a sub and scored a cracking goal in his first action since the Limerick last because of knee trouble.
That three-pointer in the 51st minute was so inspirational. He won possession Oisín O’Doherty’s attempted clearance.
He then flicked the ball to the air and — together with his back to goal — volleyed it into the web.
His former county Representative Kevin Downes also found the net in the second half as the 2016 name winners eventually shook off brave Slaughtneil.
The back-to-back Ulster champions were 2-6 to 1-6 forward at the break, having fired nine wides.
And they seemed to be in a powerful position when Na Piarsaigh were rocked by 33rd amd 35th minute dismissals.
First-half goalscorer Boylan was first to walk following a dramatic offence.
And just 90 minutes after wing-back Grimes went the same route after a similar challenge.
But Slaughtneil were not able to utilize their larger numbers to good effect as Na Piarsaigh turned up the heat and hauled away in fashion.
Subs: K Kennedy for Grimes 24-25 mins b-s, S Dowling 1-0 to Get A Breen h-t, K Ryan for D Breen 55, Kennedy for D Dempsey 56, G Brown for Downes 60.
Subs: G O’Kane for McAllister 49 mins.
REFEREE: J Keenan (Wicklow).