Galway SHC: St Thomas' stage dramatic comeback to edge thriller
Galway Senior Hurling Championship
ST THOMAS' 2-23 CASTLEGAR 3-18
By Cian O'Connell at Pearse Stadium
An epic encounter unfolded in Salthill as St Thomas' staged a remarkable rally to claim the spoils.
Castlegar, who delivered a brilliant first half display, accumulating a 10 point advantage were eventually reeled in by the holders.
Conor Cooney's goal deep into additional time proved to be the decisive score as Thomas' demonstrated admirable patience.
Castlegar had posed significant questions with Oisin Connolly supplying 2-3 and their crisp approach had Thomas' in bother.
Despite all of Castlegar's enterprise Thomas' remained defiant and a flurry of scores immediately after the restart brought them back into the reckoning.
Late on an Eanna Burke goal restored parity, but two Ger Farragher frees had Castlegar subsequently back in front.
Thomas' stayed the distance with Cooney pinching a vital major which was immediately followed by a gorgeous point from substitute Damien Glynn.
It was an opening period packed with so many encouraging moments for underdogs Castlegar, who snapped into the game.
Having established a 0-7 to 0-4 lead, Cashel pounced for a 15th minute goal when Oisín Connolly gathered a Ger Farragher free before planting a crisp finish into the back of the Thomas’ net.
Fergal Lynch and Dinny Cahill’s diligent work on the training field was being reflected in Salthill as Cashel continued to impress.
Connolly turned provider for Enda Concannon, who lashed another goal in the 23rd minute with Cashel departing 2-13 to 0-10 ahead at the break.
With Conor Cooney accurate from frees, and Oisin Flannery dashing about craving involvement, Thomas' came thundering back when the action recommenced.
Connolly did net a a 42nd minute goal which put Cashel 3-14 to 0-18 ahead.
Thomas', though, found a way to survive and when Burke struck a goal when collecting a thoughtful pass from brother David to level it remained delicately poised.
Farragher's frees put Cashel in front once more, but Kevin Lally and TJ Ryan's outfit finished strongly.
Cooney bundled the sliotar over the line to decide a high octane clash out west.
Scorers for St Thomas': Conor Cooney 1-8 (7fs), Eanna Burke 1-2, Oisin Flannery 0-4, Brendan Farrell 0-3, Darragh Burke 0-2 (1f), Fintan Burke, David Sherry, Damien McGlynn, and David Burke 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castlegar: Oisin Connolly 2-3, Ger Farragher 0-8 (7fs), Enda Concannon 1-0, Dean Higgins 0-3, Jack Coyne 0-2, Jason O'Gorman and Cillian Callaghan 0-1 each.
ST THOMAS’: Gerald Kelly; Cian Mahony, Sean Skehill, David Sherry; John Headd, Shane Cooney, Fintan Burke; James Regan, Evan Duggan; Bernard Burke, Conor Cooney, David Burke; Eanna Burke, Darragh Burke, Oisín Flannery.
Subs: Brendan Farrell for Darragh Burke (12), Damien McGlynn for B Burke (32), Donal Cooney for Sherry (45).
CASTLEGAR: Johnny Murphy; Simon Thomas, Cathal Ryan, Brian Hartnett; Dónal Barry, Tomas Mannion, Dónal McGreal; Mark Gill, Dean Higgins; Cillian Callaghan, Ger Farragher, Jack Coyne; Enda Concannon, Oisín Connolly, Sean Neary.
Subs: Jason O'Gorman for Callaghan (42).
REFEREE: Alan Kelly.