Thurles Sarsfields 1-23 Clonoulty-Rossmore 1-14
Report by Ed Donnelly
Thurles Sarsfields eased in to a County Semi-Final courtesy of a nine point victory over Clonoulty-Rossmore at Semple Stadium Thurles on Sunday in the last of the County Quarter-Finals. Thurles were warm favourites for this Quarter-Final but it was Clonoulty who opened the scoring with a pointed free by Timmy Hammersley in the first minute. Despite determined play by Clonoulty early on, Thurles Sarsfields scored four of the next five points courtesy of Stephen Cahill (2) and Pa Bourke (2) to take a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 7 minutes.
Timmy Hammersley and John Maher traded points in the 8th minute before Clonoulty hit a purple patch. From the 11th to 17th minute, the West side scored four unanswered points from Timmy Hammersley (3 frees) and Sean Maher to take a deserved 0-7 to 0-5 lead.
Thurles were playing poorly at this stage and a point from play by Billy McCarthy seemed to steady their side after a poor spell. What happened next seemed unlikely as Clonoulty collapsed with Thurles taking complete control from here to half-time. Thurles would score 1-7 unanswered from the 17th to 31st minute with Conor Lanigan scoring the goal after a Lar Corbett shot came off the post. Timmy Hammersley ended Clonoulty’s scoring drought with a point from play just before half-time to leave Thurles in front by 1-12 to 0-8 at the interval. A feature of the first half performance by the Thurles Sarsfields side was that all six forward and both midfielders had scored from play by the 25th minute.
The early stages of the second half saw little change in the pattern of play as Thurles scored four of the first five points of the half to ease in to a 1-16 to 0-9 lead after 36 minutes. To their credit, Clonoulty did not throw in the towel and began to get back in to the game. Unanswered points by Timmy Hammersley (2), John O’Neill and sub Padraig Heffernan brought Clonoulty back to within six points of Thurles heading in to the final quarter.
That was as good as things got however for Clonoulty as normal service was soon resumed as Thurles began to ring the changes. Thurles rolled off five unanswered points from play courtesy of Pa Bourke (3), Aidan McCormack and John Maher to effectively end any chance of a close finish. John O’Neill would score a late goal for Clonoulty in injury time but this was a mere consolation score as Thurles Sarsfields ran out winners by 1-23 to 1-14 in front of an attendance of 2,579. The star player on show was Pa Bourke who scored 11 points with 8 coming from play in an impressive performance.
Thurles Sarsfields: Patrick McCormack; Michael Cahill, Stephen Maher, Michael Gleeson; David Kennedy, Padraic Maher (Captain), Ronan Maher; Stephen Cahill (0-2), Billy McCarthy (0-1); Lar Corbett (0-2), Aidan McCormack (0-3), Denis Maher (0-1); Conor Lanigan (1-0), Pa Bourke (0-11, 0-3 frees), John Maher (0-3)
Subs: Richie Ruth for Conor Lanigan (49m), Tommy Doyle for Lar Corbett (52m), Kevin O’Gorman for David Kennedy (53m), David Maher for Michael Gleeson (58m), Cian Treacy for Stephen Cahill (59m)
Clonoulty-Rossmore: Declan O’Dwyer; Joey O’Keeffe, James Heffernan, Kevin Horan; Ciaran Quirke, John Devane, Ronan Heffernan; Conor Hammersley (0-1), Jimmy Maher; Sean Maher (0-1), Paudie White, Tom Butler; John O’Neill (1-1), Timmy Hammersley (0-10, 0-8 frees), Michael Ryan
Subs: Padraig Heffernan (0-1) for Jimmy Maher (HT), Fiachra O’Keeffe for Michael Ryan (HT), Dillion Quirke for Paudie White (42m), Sean O’Connor for Ronan Heffernan (54m), Aidan White for Tom Butler (54m)
Referee: Philip Kelly (Ballinahinch)