Galway SHC Final: Cooney leads by example as St Thomas make it four-in-a-row

Captain contributes 11 points as Galway kingpins overcome battling Clarinbridge

St Thomas celebrate their victory in the Galway hurling final over Clarinbridge. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

St Thomas celebrate their victory in the Galway hurling final over Clarinbridge. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

St Thomas’ 0-20 Clarinbridge 0-17

St Thomas’ manager Kenneth Burke followed in his father’s footsteps and guided his native club to their fourth Galway SHC title in a row as they held off the challenge of an emerging Clarinbridge side in front of a crowd of just under 5,000 at Pearse Stadium.

St Thomas’ emerged as a force in 2012 when John Burke guided them to their first ever Galway title with six of his sons on the team and now the eldest of them has taken over the mantle and secured their sixth crown. It’s the first time a father and son have managed their club to success in Galway.

“There weren’t too many looking for the job at the start of the year so I stepped in,” said Kenneth Burke, who won five county titles as a player.

“They are a great group to work with, they really work for each other. We know it’s not going to last forever, so we just want to make the most of it while we can.”

They were led to victory by captain Conor Cooney who produced a man of the match display as he skippered them to success for the fourth year in a row.

New Galway hurling manager Henry Shefflin watches the action at Pearse Stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
New Galway hurling manager Henry Shefflin watches the action at Pearse Stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

With new Galway manager Henry Shefflin watching in the stand, Cooney hit five points from play and landed half a dozen frees in a superb display.

The sides were level four times in the opening 17 minutes before Cooney, Darragh Burke and James Regan pushed the champions three in front and they held that lead until stoppage time when Clarinbridge cut the cap to the minimum with points from Gavin Lee and Evan Niland to leave it 0-10 to 0-9 at the interval.

St Thomas’ took over after the restart and restricted Clarinbridge to just two points from play when they had the breeze. Niland kept Clarinbridge in touch with some superb free-taking but they never looked like getting the goal they needed once the champions pulled 0-15 to 0-11 in front after 42 minutes.

Indeed, St Thomas, with Fintan Burke and Shane Cooney manning the central defensive positions superbly, didn’t concede a goal for the fifth county final in succession and with Oisín Flannery, Eanna Burke and Regan landing good points, they were full value for their win.

ST THOMAS’: G Kelly; C Mahony, F Burke, D Sherry; E Duggan, S Cooney, C Burke; David Burke (0-1), B Burke; J Regan (0-2), C Cooney (0-11, six frees), Darragh Burke (0-2); D McGlynn, O Flannery (0-2), E Burke (0-2).

Subs: V Manso for B Burke (50), B Farrell for McGlynn (50), D Finnerty for E Burke (60).

CLARINBRIDGE: A Binden; O Salmon, I O’Brien, C Bannon; S Ryan, TJ Brennan (0-1), S Kilduff; S Bannon, P Foley; M Daly (0-1), E Niland (0-10, nine frees), M Kennedy (0-2); N Armstrong (0-1), C Salmon, G Lee (0-2)Subs: L Leen for Armstrong (44).

Referee: L Gordon (Killimor).

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