St Thomas’s strike at the death to book an All-Ireland final spot

A late David Sherry point sent the Galway champions into the decider against Ballyhale

St Thomas players celebrate at the final whistle after they beat Ruairi Og to win their All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final at Parnell Park. Photo: Gary Carr/inpho

St Thomas players celebrate at the final whistle after they beat Ruairi Og to win their All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final at Parnell Park. Photo: Gary Carr/inpho

 

Ruairí Óg, Cushendall 2-11 St Thomas’s, Galway 0-18

A David Sherry point in the 70th minute ensured a second All-Ireland senior club hurling final appearance in five years for Galway champions St Thomas’s who edged out Cushendall by the minimum in a nail-biter at Parnell Park on Saturday.

The 2013 All-Ireland champions led by seven at the break despite a Neil McManus penalty for Cushendall but the Antrim side, who last made the final in 2015, mounted a second half comeback that saw them level on two occasions. Crucially for the St Thomas’s however, the Ulster men never managed to edge ahead in the home straight.

St Thomas’s were in control in the first half. James Regan opened the scoring for the Galway champions after just 33 seconds but by the fourth minute Cushendall were ahead when Neil McManus was fouled in the square and referee Paud O’Dwyer signalled a penalty to the Ulster side.

McManus stepped up to covert himself but St Thomas’s were soon on level terms through Éanna Burke and Kenneth Burke. A McManus free briefly restored the Antrim side’s lead but a run of six unanswered points had St Thomas’s 0-9 to 1-1 to the good by the 24th minute with Burkes Éanna, Darragh and Bernard on the mark alongside Conor Cooney.

Sean McAfee stopped the rot for Cushendall but four more unanswered scores – three from Darragh Burke frees – had the Galway men 0-13 to 1-2 ahead as the first half ticked towards stoppage time. A McManus free then made the score 0-13 to 1-3 at the break in favour of St Thomas’s.

The Ulster champions accounted for three of the opening five points of the second half, narrowing the gap to five points but the comeback was truly signalled on 41 minutes when Fergus McCambridge was fed by Donal McNaughton and he ran through the St Thomas’s defence to place the ball coolly in the bottom right hand corner past Gerald Murray to cut the gap to three, 0-15 to 2-6.

Three unanswered points from Cushendall, the pick of which came from Paddy McGill, levelled matters on 50 minutes. But St Thomas’s replied as Darragh Burke struck over his sixth of the day before Regan was picked out by a superb past from Éanna Burke and fired over to restore a two-point cushion.

By the 56th minute the sides were level again as two placed efforts from McManus had the scores tied at 2-11 to 0-17. It was a game that deserved to be settled by a moment of magic and it was corner back Sherry whose foray up field yielded the winner on 70 minutes.

Cushendall had a chance for a late leveller but Donal McNaughton chose to go for goal and his effort was blocked by Cathal Burke in the St Thomas’s defence. The Ulster champions battled hard to force extra time in the five minutes of injury time but the Galway champions held out.

St Thomas’s now take their place in the All-Ireland final against Ballyhale Shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day when they will aim to lift the Tommy Moore Cup for the second time.

CUSHENDALL: E Gillan; D Kearney, M Burke, S Delargy; E Campbell (0-1), A Graffin, P Burke; F McCambridge (1-1), N McManus (1-6, 1-4f, 0-2 ‘65’); D McNaughton, E McKillop, R McCambridge; P McGill (0-2), S McAfee, (0-1) A Delargy.

Subs: C Carson for R McCambridge (ht), S Walsh for S Delargy (54).

ST THOMAS: G Murray, C Mahoney, C Burke, D Sherry (0-1); D Cooney, S Cooney (0-1f), F Burke; J Regan (0-2), David Burke; Darragh Burke (0-6, 4f), E Burke (0-3), B Burke (0-2); B Farrell, C Cooney (0-1), K Burke (0-1).

Subs: D McGlynn (0-1) for K Burke (34), S Skehill for B Farrell (58).

Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow).

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.