It takes a lot to be successful in any sport. The drive, passion and commitment required to reach the peak of any sport is something that not everybody has in them.
For the hurlers of Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh, Sunday saw them secure an incredible fourth Munster title in just seven years after an eight-point win over Ballygunner.
Prior to 2011, the Limerick city side had never won a county title on Shannonside; but now, they sit second in the Munster Club SHC roll of honour and are the bookies’ favourites for a second All-Ireland title.
There is so much talent in this Na Piarsaigh side. Shane Dowling missed the game through injury but with the likes of Kevin Downes, Ronan Lynch and Peter Casey up front, they still put up big scores in their last two games against Blackrock (2-26) and Ballygunner (3-15).
Another integral part of this has been the performances of the Breen brothers, Adrian and David. Adrian won the TG4 man of the match award in both the county and Munster finals but it is the commitment of his older brother that shows the spirit of the team from the northside of Limerick city.
A physio with Premiership Rugby side Wasps, David commutes from the UK to wear the sky blue of his home club. Having gone to college in Scotland, he is used to the travelling by now, going over and back from Britain to play for club and county in previous years.
His two-goal return was crucial for Na Piarsaigh on Sunday as his first three-pointer came just as Ballygunner were taking control, while his second major was the icing on the cake.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) November 19, 2017
The commitment of Breen to travel over and back while still keeping a high level of performance truly is something to behold.
Speaking in the build-up to the Ballygunner clash, he told the Limerick Leader:
“I have my own training routine and Alan Cunningham (coach) gave we some ball wall sessions and drills. The last thing I want is to be taking the place of someone else who is training away at home so if they are doing three nights training, I do three nights or even four.”
While Cuala were impressive as they dismissed the challenge of St Martins with relative ease, the Limerick side are the favourites for the All-Ireland after Sunday – although a Na Piarsaigh vs Cuala meeting on St Patrick’s Day is a possibility.
While they have an awesome attack, Na Piarsaigh can also call on the likes on the inter-county experience of Mike Casey, Cathall King and Alan Dempsey in defence. Another member of their back-unit Tommy Grimes was last week called up to John Kiely’s Limerick panel, showing the class the Caherdavin men have in all areas of the park.
Despite having county experience in all lines of the field, David Breen’s commitment to the side is one that adds to the team. And, if he can out in shifts like he did in Thurles in the All-Ireland series in the new year, it is not hard to the Tommy Moore Cup heading to Limerick city for the second time in three seasons.
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena