Galway SHC Final replay: Thomas' make it five-in-a-row
Galway SHC Final replay
St Thomas’ 1-15 Loughrea 0-17
By Cian O’Connell at Pearse Stadium
A compelling contest unfolded in Salthill with St Thomas’ eventually earning a fifth Galway SHC title on the spin.
Again Loughrea brought plenty of dash to an absorbing encounter, but Kenneth Burke’s team found a way. Resilient and resourceful until the end, Thomas’ answered the stern questions posed by an emerging Loughrea outfit.
Mark Caulfield’s 1-3, Conor Cooney’s relevance, and David Burke’s experience when it truly mattered late on steered Thomas’ over the line.
Loughrea will certainly reflect on what might have been. Two fiercely fought matches illustrated Loughrea’s potential and in a high quality opening 10 minutes they edged 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
Then, though, Thomas’ pounced to net a goal that carried considerable weight in such a tight and tense battle.
Inevitably Conor Cooney was instrumental making the 11th minute burst that enabled Caulfield to make the Loughrea net dance.
Victor Manso added another Thomas’ point as they moved into a 1-5 to 0-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Loughrea summoned a response reeling off four points on the spin courtesy of Jamie Ryan and Neil Keary (three) to nudge in front 0-9 to 1-5.
Caulfield, an influential figure, mined a couple of points before the break to ensure Thomas' departed armed with a narrow 1-7 to 0-9 lead.
When the action recommenced it remained delicately poised. Tiernan Killeen impressed for Loughrea and his 47th minute point levelled matters at 1-11 to 0-14.
A splendid Oisín Flannery effort had Thomas’ ahead. Then Keary and Darren Shaughnessy rifled over points for Loughrea, who were briefly in front.
It was that type of game, but Cooney landed two pressure frees before Eanna Burke landed a beauty from play after Keary dragged a free narrowly wide. Thomas’ registered 1-15 from 25 shots and it was sufficient to ensure they remain perched on the Galway hurling summit.
Tiernan Killeen narrowed the gap in additional time, but Loughrea, efficient throughout themselves registering 0-17 from 26 attempts, just couldn’t nail a leveller as a crafty Thomas’ prevailed. Just about.
Scorers for St Thomas’: Mark Caulfield 1-3, Conor Cooney 0-4 (2fs), Eanna Burke 0-2, John Headd, Cathal Burke, Darragh Burke, Oisín Flannery, Bernard Burke, and Victor Manso 0-1 each.
Scorers for Loughrea: Neil Keary 0-5 (4fs), Jamie Ryan 0-4 (2fs), Tieran Killeen 0-3, Martin McManus 0-2, Darren Shaughnessy, Caimin Killeen, and Joe Mooney 0-1 each.
St Thomas’: Gerald Kelly; Cian Mahony, Fintan Burke, Evan Duggan; Cathal Burke, David Burke, John Headd; Bernard Burke, Darragh Burke; Victor Manso, Conor Cooney, Mark Caulfield; Damien McGlynn, Eanna Burke, Oisín Flannery.
Subs: Brendan Farrell for B Burke (54), Conor Headd for Manso (56).
Loughrea: Gearoid Loughnane; Paul Hoban, Johnny Coen, Kieran Hanrahan; Darren Shaughnessy, Oisín Coyle, Ian Hanrahan; Brian Keary, Tiernan Killeen; Jamie Ryan, Dylan Shaughnessy, Anthony Burns; Neil Keary, Martin McManus, Joe Mooney.
Subs: Caimin Killeen for B Keary (34), Shane O’Brien for Dylan Shaughnessy (40), Tom Hoban for Burns (58).
Referee: John McDonagh.