AIB SHC semi-final: St Thomas' pip Cushendall
AIB All-Ireland club SHC semi-final
ST THOMAS' (Galway) 0-18 RUAIRI OG, CUSHENDALL (Antrim) 2-11
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park, Dublin
Defender David Sherry scored a dramatic winning point five minutes into stoppage time at Parnell Park to secure an AIB All-Ireland club final place for St Thomas'.
The 2013 All-Ireland winners found themselves on level terms late on having been seven points ahead at half-time.
But just when victory and a place in the March 17 final threatened to elude them, Sherry popped up with a terrific winner from out on the left wing.
Free-taker Darragh Burke top scored for Kevin Lally's side with 0-6 while Eanna Burke sniped three points from play but Sherry's name will be remembered most after the dramatic finale.
It was so tough on Cushendall who dominated the first 20 minutes of the second-half to wipe out that half-time lead.
They got back to level terms twice in the closing stages but crucially couldn't take the lead as the Galway men held on.
Cushendall were aiming for just a second All-Ireland semi-final win from 11 outings though that one previous win did come in 2016.
They got a great start too and led 1-0 to 0-1 after top scorer Neil McManus' fifth minute penalty conversion.
Full-forward Sean McAfee was adjudged to have been fouled by Cathal Burke, who was booked, and McManus roofed the penalty.
But the northerners scored just one point from play in the entire first-half, a McAfee effort in the 24th minute.
They played with a sweeper and dropped Alex Delargy back but it didn't initially bother St Thomas' who were back level by the 15th minute before striding confidently clear.
They scored six points without reply between the 15th and 24th minutes to open up a significant 0-9 to 1-1 advantage.
Darragh Burke and Eanna Burke added four more points between them as the south-Galway outfit took a deserved 0-13 to 1-3 half-time lead.
They outscored St Thomas' by seven points in the first 20 minutes of the second-half to level the game, drawing cries of encouragement from their vocal support.
McManus was excellent from placed balls while midfielder Fergus McCambridge helped himself to 1-01 in that period.
His 42nd minute goal was a beauty with sub Conor Carson delicately flicking the ball to the onrushing McCambridge who netted from close range.
Carson flicked another sumptuous pass over his shoulder to Paddy McGill for a point as the St Thomas' defence found itself under siege.
St Thomas' response to being pegged back to level terms was to reel off points from Darragh Burke and Regan but back came Cushendall again to level it at 2-11 to 0-17.
It remained that way until the fifth minute of stoppage time when the ball was worked out to Sherry on the left wing and he took on the responsibility from an acute angle to win it for the westerners.
Scorers for St Thomas': Darragh Burke 0-6 (0-4f), Eanna Burke 0-3, Bernard Burke 0-2, James Regan 0-2, Conor Cooney 0-1, Kenneth Burke 0-1, Shane Cooney 0-1, Damien McGlynn 0-1, David Sherry 0-1.
Scorers for Ruairi Og, Cushendall: Neil McManus 1-6, (1-0pen, 0-4f, 0-2 65), Fergus McCambridge 1-1, Paddy McGill 0-2, Sean McAfee 0-1, Eoghan Campbell 0-1.
St Thomas': Gerald Murray; David Sherry, Cathal Burke, Cian Mahoney; Donal Cooney, Shane Cooney, Fintan Burke; James Regan, David Burke; Conor Cooney, Darragh Burke, Bernard Burke; Eanna Burke, Brendan Farrell, Kenneth Burke. Subs: Damien McGlynn for K Burke (33), Sean Skehill for Farrell (58).
Ruairi Og, Cushendall: Eoin Gillan; Sean Delargy, Martin Burke, David Kearney; Eoghan Campbell, Aaron Graffin, Paddy Burke; Fergus McCambridge, Neil McManus; Ryan McCambridge, Eunan McKillop, Donal McNaughton; Paddy McGill, Sean McAfee, Alex Delargy. Subs: Conor Carson for R McCambridge (h/t), Stephen Walsh for S Delargy (54).
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).