Portumna qualify for All-Ireland final against newcomers

Portumna hurlers are back in yet another All-Ireland club final and will face Mount Leinster (Carlow ) on St Patrick's Day.

Ten years ago, after their first senior title in Galway (2003 ), they lost an All-Ireland semi-final against Dunloy.

However last weekend such a result never looked likely as they had too much craft, experience and firepower for a young Na Piarsaigh side that could not replicate its pre-Christmas form.

The Galway champions won by1-15 to 1-11.

Young Ronan O' Meara ensured Frank Canning's charges enjoyed a terrific start with an early goal and, with Joe Canning in good form, they had too much scoring power for the Limerick men.

Joe's brother and team captain Ollie also had a hugely impressive game. His guile and experience was crucial in helping to close out the game in the last quarter. The former All-Star, who is now 37, may not have the burning pace he once had, but his tactical reading of the game and use of possession is superb.

A big moment in the game was when Joe Canning was yellow-carded by referee James McGrath for an out-of-sorts pull on David Dempsey in the first half.

A red card for the Portumna talisman would have been a massive blow for his side, especially as he went on to have such a big influence on proceedings.

Canning described the pull as "stupid" during the week, and pointed out that it was uncharacteristic, and something that he would try hard not to let happen again.

It has been an amazing period of success for Portumna having won the club title on three occasions (2006, 2008, 2009 ) and also being defeated by Ballyhale Shamrocks in another final.

In five weeks’ time they will take on Mount Leinster Rangers from Carlow who are one of the success stories of the year. They defeated Oulart-the-Ballagh (Wexford ) in the Leinster final and last Saturday they held off Loughgiel Shamrocks in Newry.

They are the first Carlow team to contest an All-Ireland senior hurling club final and they will be massive outsiders to topple such an experienced and talented side as Portumna.

However, they will have self-belief from their successes in Leinster and will feel they have nothing to lose.

Such opponents can be dangerous.

Scorers: Portumna: J Canning 0-9 (1sc, 7f ), R O'Meara 1-2, O Canning, D Hayes, K Hayes, A Smith 0-1 each.

Portumna: J Keane; C O'Hare, E McEntee, G Heagney; P Smith, M Dolphin, E Lynch; L Smith, A Smith; K Hayes, D Hayes, O Canning; R O'Meara, J Canning, N Hayes. Subs: O Treacy for N Hayes (59 ).

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