Portumna break through

 

Galway SH final / Loughrea 2-09 Portumna 2-13: Two goals in a four-minute spell late in the second half saw strong favourites Portumna overcome a gritty Loughrea side to win their first county title at Pearse Stadium, Salthill, yesterday.

Inspired by man of the match Damian Hayes, Portumna showed great composure to gradually claw back their opponents' four-point interval lead.

Their spirits seemed to soar after corner forward Kevin Hayes connected with a long-range Andrew Smith free to send the ball to the back of the net and leave the sides on level terms after 50 minutes.

There was little doubt about the outcome when Smith finished off an excellent move involving Niall and Damian Hayes and put his side four points up four minutes later.

Loughrea, who led by 2-5 to 0-7 at the break, rallied again in the closing stages but failed to close the gap despite the efforts of free-taker Johnny O'Loughlin, who accounted for all of their scores in the second half.

Both teams showed signs of nerves during a tame first quarter, which turned into something of a shoot-out between O'Loughlin and Portumna's Frank Canning.

Two goals in a three-minute spell from Loughrea corner forward Kenneth Colleran turned the game on its head and left Portumna trailing at the break.

O'Loughlin finished off a great run by providing Colleran with the perfect pass to fire home the game's first goal after 26 minutes, and Colleran powered his way through the defence to add his second following a good ball from midfielder Gavin Keary.

But Portumna kept their composure to haul back the lead, sending over three unanswered points from Smith and Canning frees, before mounting the final push that saw them power on to a well-deserved victory.

PORTUMNA: I Canning; M Gill, E Lynch, E McEntee; T Treacy, O Canning, A O'Donnell; D Canning (0-1), L Smith; F Canning (0-8, eight frees), I Muldoon, D Hayes; K Hayes (1-1), N Hayes, A Smith (1-3, one free). Sub: V Treacy for P Treacy (56 mins).

LOUGHREA: N Murray; T Regan, G Kennedy, D McClearn; J Dooley, N Shaughnessy, S Creavan; G Keary, B Mahony; J O'Loughlin (0-8, six frees), V Maher, J Maher (0-1); K Colleran (2-0) M Kearns, P Connors. Sub: K Daniels for Connors (37 mins).

Referee: M Bodkin