Bryan Keane/INPHO
# Talking Points
The hurling kings of Galway, more success for Kerry brothers and Loughmore stopped at last
A look at the talking points from the weekend’s GAA club action.

1. St Thomas are kings of Galway again

It is as recent as 2012 when St Thomas first landed a Galway senior hurling crown but they have reaped a rich harvest from this golden crop of club hurlers. Yesterday they completed four-in-a-row, a landmark feat that eluded heavyweights in Galway like Sarsfields, Athenry and Portumna in recent decades during their spells of dominance.

But more critically, this success over Clarinbridge meant St Thomas have claimed six titles in ten seasons, and maintained their record of having never lost a county senior final. That’s no small achievement, considering five of those final victories have been secured by margins of two-four points, illustrating their teak tough nature in high-pressured final situations.

2. O’Sullivan brothers succeed in Kerry again

Amidst the celebrations in the Austin Stacks ranks in Tralee yesterday, there was a novel achievement for one pair of brothers. The O’Sullivans, Paul and Brendan, from Valentia Island were toasting a first county senior medal win as Austin Stacks players.

But neither were strangers to this experience on Kerry county final day, claiming their second medal in the space of seven seasons, both achieved with different outfits. Back in 2015 the pair lined out for South Kerry as they held off Legion to take the Bishop Moynihan Cup. They also participated in the 2017 final with their home divisional team before transferring to the Tralee club in 2019 and helped steer them over the finish line in this local derby with Kerins O’Rahilly’s.

austin-stacks-players-celebrate James Crombie / INPHO Austin Stacks players celebrate the Kerry senior final win. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

3. Leinster quartet head to Croke Park

The contenders in Leinster club football were whittled down from eight to four after yesterday’s quarter-finals and the prize of Croke Park football on the Saturday before Christmas awaits the remaining quartet. Kilmacud Crokes are the only member of that group, who have experience of winning or even featuring in a provincial final.

Portarlington are competing in Leinster for the first time since 2001 and Naas have ended a wait since 1990 to play in the province. Shelmaliers played in 2018, when they were decisively beaten in the opener by Dunboyne, and no Wexford club has managed to reach the final of this championship. The stakes will be high on Saturday week.

4. Loughmore’s run comes to a close

After 17 weekends of progress to pick up both senior crowns in Tipperary, Loughmore-Castleiney saw their run halted yesterday as they headed out of the county to embark on the provincial trail against Éire Óg Ennis.

Typically they refused to quit in normal time, despite trailing by three points with ten minutes left, as a trio of white flags were raised, including a leveller by their talisman John McGrath to force extra-time. Eventually Éire Óg prevailed with a double-goal blast, a significant success for them after an absence from Munster of 15 years.

Loughmore’s marathon season continues though, a trip to Waterford to face their hurling kingpins Ballygunner next Sunday afternoon.

5. Glen and Kilcoo issue statements of intent

The weekend’s last eight fixtures in Ulster featured a pair of wins on different days, that were real statements of intent. Down’s Kilcoo on Saturday night took down Ramor United by 11 points, Derry’s Watty Grahams Glen on Sunday afternoon took down Scotstown by nine points.

It sets up a fascinating semi-final tussle between two teams in red-hot form. Both are highly ambitious outfits, Kilcoo the seasoned campaigners who pushed Corofin to extra-time in the last All-Ireland club final and Glen the newcomers who are keen to develop after emerging from Derry, as evidenced by their provincial victories against St Eunan’s and Scotstown. It’s a match packed with intrigue.


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