Sarsfields claim first Munster title after hard-fought win over De La Salle
Despite their numerical disadvantage and trailing by 1-11 to 1-9 at the interval, De La Salle gave as good as they got during the third quarter, managing to restore parity at 1-12 apiece after 37 minutes following a point from Eddie Barrett.
But, once O’Grady helped reclaim the lead with a superb point from way out near the left touchline, Thurles Sarsfields’ grip on proceedings tightened, with Kennedy excelling in his spare man role in defence.
Bourke’s influence was always present, opening up a three-point gap, 1-17 to 1-14, with another fine point entering the closing quarter and yet De La Salle kept battling, though they needed a second goal to have any chance of a third title. Their best chance came nine minutes from the end, but Greene’s weak shot was batted away by goalkeeper Patrick McCormack, and while Kevin Moran reduced the deficit to two, Thurles Sars pulled away in the closing minutes through points from Bourke, Ruth and O’Grady.
Manager Séamus Quinn reckoned the players’ belief in the system was key to their win.
“We make it hard for ourselves, but we always find a way in the end. I think the key was to hurl in the moment and get there bit by bit, doing the right thing and backing each other. The lads believed in the system,” he said.
Thurles Sarsfields enjoyed a man advantage after the red card, but Quinn expected a response from De La Salle. “I suppose the referee called it as he saw it and yet it often happens the team with 14 finds an extra five or 10 per cent from somewhere. In fairness De La Salle kept battling to the finish.”
THURLES SARSFIELDS: P McCormack; S Maher; K O’Gorman; David Maher; D Kennedy; P Maher (capt); M Cahill (0-1); J Enright (0-1, 1f), M Gleeson (0-2); Denis Maher (0-2); J Corbett (1-0); L Corbett (0-3); M O’Brien (0-1); P Bourke (0-7, 2f); A McCormack (0-1). Subs: G O’Grady (0-2) for J Corbett; R Ruth (0-1) for O’Brien (both 37 mins); S Cahill for Gleeson (57); R Maher for S Maher (59). DE LA SALLE WATERFORD: S Brenner; S Daniels; I Flynn; C Watt; B Phelan; K Moran (0-1, capt), E Madigan (0-1); J Kennedy; E Barrett (0-3); P Nevin (1-0); J Mullane (0-1); D Twomey (0-1); D Greene; J Dillon (0-9, 5f, 1 sideline), J Keane. Sub: S McNulty for Greene (55 mins). Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick).