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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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Watch: St Thomas' defender David Sherry's 'Roy of the Rovers' moment

Manager Kevin Lally was thrilled to watch the corner-back split the posts in the 65th-minute.

David Sherry watches his winning point sail between the posts.
David Sherry watches his winning point sail between the posts.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

ST THOMAS’ LOOKED ready to cruise into the All-Ireland SHC final on Saturday, leading by eight points near the end of a dominant first period.

But Ruairí Óg Cushendall raised a gallop after the interval and hauled themselves back to level terms by the 50th minute. Fergal McCambridge’s goal and a haul of 1-6 from Neil McManus proved inspirational for the Ulster men.

With the game on the line in a tense finale, it was St Thomas’ corner-back David Sherry who proved the unlikely hero in Parnell Park.

He fired over a stunning game-winner from the sideline in the fifth minute of stoppage-time to send the 2013 All-Ireland champions into their first final in six years.

“We made it hard for ourselves in the second half and I suppose I have to compliment David Sherry for taking on that last score,” said his manager Kevin Lally.

“We moved him out the field, playing as our sweeper because they were playing five up top. We moved him up and for a guy who’s been playing corner-back all year to come up and take on that score, it really was Roy of the Rovers stuff.

“I just thought we needed energy and David Sherry has that in spades. He’s probably the fittest guy on the team, he’s a guy who’s just mad for work and he’s great on the ball. We rolled the dice and thankfully it came off.

“Predominantly he has been our corner-back all year, but up to this he would have been a middle third guy. I’d say he got a couple of scores, he got a great score for us (against) Clarinbridge in the county quarter-final this year. A great score, but he wouldn’t be prolific.”

Cushendall boss Eamon Gillen was understandably devastated after the game. 

“I don’t know how you’d describe it,” he said. “To be honest, I thought we were going to win it.

“When we went level I thought, ‘There’s enough time to win this match’. But there was enough time to lose it as well.

David Burke celebrates at the final whistle David Burke celebrates at the final whistle as Fergal McCambridge drops to his knees. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“I’m gutted for the boys because they put in a big shift and they really didn’t do themselves justice in the first half., They were so cool all day and they looked really up for it, they didn’t look nervous although their touch let them down a bit in the first half.

“But how do you pick up a ball on that pitch? It was kind of unfair to ask hurlers to hurl on that but I’m not blaming the ground.

“St Thomas’s dug deep but we had them rattled.”

Forward Donal McNaughton had a last-ditch chance to equalise after Sherry’s score, but shot for goal instead and saw his shot blocked on the goal line.

“If that last shot of Donal McNaughton’s had gone over the bar we’d have got another go at it but, look, the full-back did well,” said Gillen.

“If it had gone into the back of the net he would have been a hero and that’s the way it works in this game – you can be a villain or a hero.

“He’s had a great year.” 

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Kevin O'Brien

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