Murray inspirational in St Thomas' triumph
All-Star David Burke and former Galway midfielder Richie Murray led the way as St Thomas captured their first Galway SHC title in difficult conditions at Pearse Stadium.
Murray, playing at full-forward yesterday, got the decisive scores as they carved out a deserved success in their first ever final appearance.
After just a minute he rounded full-back Damien McClearn after collecting a low ball from David Burke to drive low to the net.
It helped settle a young St Thomas team against their neighbours who now have just one win from six finals in the last ten years.
Loughrea got back into contention when full-forward Johnny Maher blasted home a 20-metre free after 13 minutes. But with All-Star David Burke – one of six sons of manager John Burke to feature yesterday – in superb form around the middle of the field, the Kilchreest-Peterswell side kept setting the pace.
Neil Keary pointed from play for Loughrea after 20 minutes to level the scores but Bernard Burke’s point edged St Thomas into a lead they never surrendered.
Kenneth Burke added another and then an effort from distance by Richie Murray spun out of the hands of goalkeeper Nigel Murray’s hand and ended up in the net.
That helped St Thomas lead by 2-6 to 1-4 at the interval. Points from David Burke, Bernard Burke and James Regan kept St Thomas in front before Anthony Kelly set up Murray for his hat-trick after 39 minutes to make it 3-9 to 1-6.
Three Neil Keary pointed frees gave Loughrea hope and they set up a tense finish when Johnny Maher blasted a penalty to the net in the closing stages to leave a goal between them but St Thomas held out.