REPORTS: Loughrea advance; Stalemate in other   28/10/2012

Salthill Hotel Senior Hurling Championship Semi-finals
Sunday 28th October in Kenny Park
GORT 0-9, ST. THOMAS 0-9, replay next Sunday


Harte's late '65 gives draw to Gort

GORT 0-9..........ST. THOMAS 0-9

Reigning county champions Gort had to point a late '65 to give them a draw and keep their hopes alive to winning back to back titles. Played in terrible hurling conditions today in Kenny Park, the champions never led in this tie but still did enough to live for another day.

St. Thomas played with the wind and rain in the opening half and took an early 0-2 to 0-0 lead thanks to the opening point from play from Ritchie Murray, while Conor Cooney tagged on another. Gort's Gerry Quinn pointed from a free and on the 12th minute he threw over another placed ball to level the tie. With the wind advantage telling, St. Thomas' began to take control and shot three unanswered points - two frees from Conor Cooney, with David Burke adding another from play. Gort did respond in first half injury time with a Gerry Quinn free, but Ritchie Murray closed the opening half with his second from play, when almost through for a goal. 
Half-time score: St. Thomas 0-6, Gort 0-3.

With Gort now playing with the wind, it was a case of was the St. Thomas' lead enough to hold on. They started the best way when Conor Cooney pointed an early free to give them a four point lead, but Gort then scored two in reply thanks to Paul Killilea (Gort's only from play) and another Gerry Quinn free. James Regan then put St. Thomas' back to three ahead on the 11 minute, but Gort again came back and replied with two more Gerry Quinn frees to leave the scores 0-8 to 0-7. On the 22nd minute Conor Cooney pointed from a free to give his side a valuable two point lead. Was it to be enough?
Gerry Quinn pointed from a free with 5 mnutes remaining, and then the Guaire men went on the hunt for the equaliser. They missed a few chances, but on the 32nd minute they were awarded a '65, and Aidan Harte was cool under pressure as he fired it over the bar.

So, another titanic battle between these two great rivals and another battle to follow. Gort, like most champions, are hard to put down and always seem to have the last shout. St. Thomas may just need a bit more belief, as there is no doubting the talent in their side.

Note: Replay is fixed for next Sunday in Kenny Park at 1pm, to be followed by this years Intermediate Final between Ahascragh-Fohenagh and Killimordaly.


Collerans goal paves way for Loughrea victory


Playing in their first semi-final since 2004, is was not to be for Turloughmore, as the lakesiders came through for their sixth final appearance in the last 10 years.

Turloughmore had the advantage of the wind in the first half, and although Loughrea took an early lead, the black and whites responded with points from Ronan Badger (free) and Franny Forde to level the match on 0-2 to 0-2 after 16 minutes. But the next score was a vital one and it came to Loughrea, when after some good build-up, the ball came to Kenneth Colleran and he shot past Paul Dullaghan in the Turloughmore goal to raise the game's only green flag. That goal gave confidence to the Loughrea side and they followed with the next two points to give them a five point lead. Turloughmore did reply with two of their own but a late Johnny Maher free gave his side a handsome 5 point lead at the interval, after playing against the wind.
Half-time: Loughrea 1-6, Turloughmore 0-4.

Turloughmore would need a good scoring spree on the resumption, but the stern Loughrea defence were not forgiving, and it was Loughrea who outscored their opponents in the third quarter by 0-5 to 0-2. At that stage Loughrea were leading by 1-11 to 0-6, and this game was as good as over. Turloughmore's Gary Burke did point for his side, but that was only to be matched by another Johnny Maher effort, as Loughrea finished with an eight point win.

Disappointment so for Turloughmore, but they can surely look back at a year that they brought pride back into the club jersey, and enthralled the county with some great performances. They have come a long way this year and there is no doubt that they can go further next year.
Loughrea are back into another final since they lost in 2010. They appear to have a great balance of young talented hurlers, folded in amongst some great experienced club hurlers. They now have two weeks to prepare for their big day out, and I'm sure all in Loughrea will enjoy the excitement this brings.      

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