NA PIARSAIGH manager Shane O’Neill can do little in the conclusion of his sides’ remarkable comeback against tracking Slaughtneil (Derry) by three factors in half-time, but express his joy over Shane Dowling’s aim that finished Saturday’s All-Ireland club SHC semi-final at Parnell Park as a competition.
Despite losing Conor Boylan along with Tommy Grimes to red cards just after half-time, the introduction of Dowling had a transformative effect on the game.
They had been four points clear with ten minutes when he made a moment of sheer genius.
With Oisín O’Doherty looking to clean, Dowling nipped in having a brilliant block, scrambling to gather the loose ball before lifting it Seán Cassidy’s mind and catching it shoulder-height like a rocket to the internet.
“Shane’s ability level is simply pure type,” his supervisor confessed.
“It was a brilliant conclusion he flicked it up for himself then just buried it very few players if anyone would be in a position to accomplish this. That is the quality he has and now hopefully we’ll have the ability to get him back fully, fully fit for the closing.”
Facing Cuala in the St Patrick’s Day decider, O’Neill declared this competition as, “The maddest one I’ve ever been involved in, without a doubt”.
“In order to 13 after which the composure the lads demonstrated on the ball and bringing the perfect ball, there is no stage spraying ball to space whenever they had two extra men back so that the boys took it on themselves to just go direct and give it straight in.
“If they did it in fairness to Shane if he arrived he got to of won every ball he acquired some way got a bit on it or laid off it or passed it he was excellent when he came on. Mad match but great to come out the other side of it”
Slaughtneil had got off to a great start, rushing to the lead after Cormac O’Doherty converted a penalty. Although the Limerick men grabbed one themselves after Conor Boylan wriggled indoors Seán Cassidy, it had been completed a moment later when Brendan Rogers unselfishly played Brian Cassidy to get a goal.
The introduction of Dowling changed everything and just one change was made by their supervisor Michael McShane, although Slaughtneil drained.
“You would think if you had two extra men, it’d work to your benefit,” said McShane afterward.
“It made no real difference to his or her defence.
“You have to sacrifice Na Piarsaigh credit, our interior line were totally on top in the first-half.
“We scored a goal and should’ve had another objective. We were getting a lot of mileage from our interior line and the seemed to really tightened up in the second-half,” he further added.