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Cratloe power past Thurles Sarsfields to book a place in Munster decider
Conor McGrath and Padraic Collins impress as the Clare champions qualify for their first ever provincial hurling final.

Cratloe 1-18

Thurles Sarsfields 0-14

DUAL TRAILBLAZERS CRATLOE continued their historic Munster double bid when easing past 14-man Thurles Sarsfields to advance to their first ever provincial hurling final.

Twelve months on from contesting the Munster football decider, the Clare double champions, who are now unbeaten in 13 hurling and football championship games in 2014, are hoping to go one significant step further this year when facing Waterford champions The Nire in next Sunday’s football semi-final in a bid to repeat the dose.

Shane Gleeson and Stephen Maher ©INPHO / Ryan Byrne Cratloe's Stephen Gleeson wraps himself around Thurles Sarsfields' Stephen Maher during their clash in Ennis. ©INPHO / Ryan Byrne / Ryan Byrne

The decisive moment of this last four clash came in the first passage of play as Denis Maher was dismissed for a strike on Liam Markham from the throw-in. With the gameplan in shreds, Thurles initially coped well with Conor Lanigan causing problems and a brace of points from Tommy Doyle.

However, once Cratloe warmed to their task, there would be no stopping them as Conor McGrath led the line up front with three early points, captain Liam Markham picked off two in a sweeping display while Conor Ryan began to dominate from his centre back berth on their way to a 0-8 to 0-4 lead approaching the break.

McGrath was also denied a goal opportunity after 20 minutes but would make amends right on the stroke of half time when his delivery broke off Gearoid Considine for Podge Collins to bat to the net.

Padraic Collins scores the first goal of the game despite the efforts of Padraic Maher ©INPHO / Ryan Byrne Podge Collins taps home for Cratloe's goal. ©INPHO / Ryan Byrne / Ryan Byrne

With the wind to come, it appeared a hammer blow to Thurles’ slim hopes but to their credit, they refused to drop their heads at any stage and with Lanigan posing a keen threat, Pa Bourke ensured that the Tipperary champions kept in touch.

However, any hopes of a fightback were repeatedly dashed by McGrath whose eight second half points were timely boosts to guide Cratloe to the first of a potential Munster final double appearance.

Scorers for Cratloe: Conor McGrath 0-11 (4f, 1’65); Padraic Collins 1-2; Liam Markham 0-3 (1f); Cathal McInerney, Sean Collins 0-1 each
Scorers for Thurles Sarsfields: Pa Bourke 0-8 (7f); Tommy Doyle 0-2; Conor Lanigan, Michael Cahill. Stephen Cahill, Billy McCarthy 0-1 each

Gearoid Ryan

Shane O’Leary
Michael Hawes
David Ryan

Sean Chaplin
Conor Ryan
Enda Boyce

David Collins
Liam Markham (Captain)

Shane Gleeson
Padraic Collins
Sean Collins

Cathal McInerney
Gearoid Considine
Conor McGrath

Subs: Damien Browne for Considine (35, inj), Barry Duggan for D. Collins (55)

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Patrick McCormack

Michael Cahill
Stephen Maher
David Maher

Ronan Maher
Padraic Maher
Michael Gleeson

Stephen Cahill
Billy McCarthy

Pa Bourke
Aidan McCormack
Denis Maher

Tommy Doyle
Conor Lanigan
Lar Corbett

Subs: Richie Ruth for A. McCormack (38), Michael O’Brien for Doyle (42)

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)

LIVE: Munster SHC club semi-finals – Cratloe v Thurles Sars, Sarsfields v Kilmallock

LIVE: Leinster, Connacht and Ulster Sunday GAA club football action

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