St Thomas’s 2-13 Liam Mellows 1-0
St Thomas’ won their Galway county title last November when the Kilchreest-Peterswell based side saw off the challenge of reigning champions Liam Mellows in the final with a bit to spare
The Kevin Lally managed side oozed class and confidence as they marked the club’s 50th anniversary by powering to their third Galway crown in seven years, and their second in just three.
Speaking after the game Galway county captain David Burke, who was a key figure in his team’s win, said “It’s fantastic for a small rural club and especially this year. We put in a massive effort and it paid off,”
It was Burke’s brother Darragh who took the man-of-the-match award after a superb individual display which saw him score 1-7, 1-5 of which came from play.
Two other Burke brothers also did well, with Cathal solid in the full-back line while Eanna picked off three points from the half-forward line in the first half.
Fintan Burke, Shane Cooney and David Sherry were ultra-reliable in a defence which smothered every Liam Mellows’ initiative at source. The 2013 All Ireland champions were totally dominant at the back and held Liam Mellows scoreless from play until five minutes into the second half.
St. Thomas’ laid down an early marker when they raced into a four-point lead after six minutes, and though Liam Mellows battled back with three pointed frees from Adrian Morrissey, it was evident Morrissey and his colleagues would get little change from a watertight St Thomas’ defence.
The winners made a vital breakthrough in the 15th minute when centre-forward Darragh Burke pounced for a goal after a fumble by Liam Mellows goalkeeper, Kenneth Walsh. Burke was in flying form and by half-time, he had scored 1-4 (1-3 from play) to help his side to a seven-point lead, 1-10 to 0-6.
The second half saw more St Thomas’ dominance as their relentless pursuit for victory drove them on. The made doubly sure of the win in the 45th minute when team captain, Conor Cooney drove in their second goal, and from then on it was just a matter of how much they were going to win by.
Scorers: St. Thomas: Darragh Burke 1-7 (2f), C Cooney 1-1, E Burke 0-3, David Burke, J Regan 0-1 each.
Liam Mellows: A Morrissey 0-6 (6f), K Lee, C Hynes, T Haran, J Forde 0-1 each.
St. Thomas’: G Murray; C Mahoney, C Burke, D Sherry; D Cooney, S Cooney, F Burke; J Regan, E Burke ; Darragh Burke, David Burke, B Burke; B Farrell, C Cooney, D McGlynn.
Subs: K Burke for McGlynn (40), C Kelly for B Burke (43), S Skehill for D Cooney (59), M Caulfield for Farrell (59), D Finnerty for E Burke (62).
Liam Mellows: K Walsh; C Reilly, S Morrissey, M Hughes; M Conneely, D Collins, B Leen; J Hastings, K Lee;; C Kavanagh, C Hynes, A Callanan; A Morrissey, T Haran, J Forde.
Subs: R Elwood for Callanan (39), J Forde for Morrissey (39), S Barrett for Fallon (42), C Elwood for Lee (52).
Ref – L Gordon (Killimor)
Semi-final: St Thomas’ 2-19 Sarsfields 0-20
In their semi-final St Thomas saw off 2015 champions Sarsfields by 2-19 to 0-20. The last score of the game came from a Brendan Farrell goal for St Thomas in injury-time as he clinched their five-point victory over the team who Ruairi Og met in their last All Ireland semi-final.
Sarsfields provided much stiffer opposition, but an early Darragh Burke goal provided St Thomas with a boost. However it was Sarsfields who were in front by 0-12 to 1-8 by half time. St Thomas grew in stature as the second half progressed to go in front 1-15 to 0-17 with ten minutes remaining and outscored their opponents by 1-4 to 0-3 thereafter to claim victory.
Quarter final: St Thomas’ 1-23 Clarinbridge 2-19
The toughest game of the campaign for St Thomas’ in the quarter final when it took extra time before edging past the challenge of Clarinbridge on a scoreline of 1-23 to 2-19. In an incredible game of hurling it looked like they would take a goal lead into the break, only for Clarinbridge to grab a goal late in the half to send them in level on 1-8 to 0-11.
A Conor Cooney goal just after the restart put them back in front and by the midway stage of the second half they had pulled 1-15 to 1-10 clear. However a Clarinbridge goal in the 53rd minute lifted their spirits and they fought back to bring a thrilling game to extra time. By half time in extra time Clarinbridge had edge 2-17 to 1-19 in front, but St Thomas finished with a flourish and outscored their opponents by 4 points to 2 in the second period to book their place in the semi-final.