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Burke clan are key as St Thomas retain Galway hurling crown against Liam Mellows

Elsewhere today Slaughtneil were crowned Ulster champions against Dunloy.

St Thomas 1-13 
Liam Mellows 0-14

John Fallon reports from Pearse Stadium

ST THOMAS MAINTAINED their 100% record in Galway senior hurling finals when they captured their fourth to retain their title at Pearse Stadium in Salthill.

Liam Mellows, bidding to avenge last year’s final defeat and win their second title in three years, only managed three points from frees in the second-half.

st-thomas-celebrate-after-the-game The St Thomas players celebrate after their success in Pearse Stadium. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Galway captain David Burke was superb but it was his younger brother Eanna who hit the key scores, while a cousin Fintan returned from a cruciate operation eight months ago to shoot two brilliant points.

Liam Mellows led by 0-11 to 0-7 at the end of a good opening half, having made the most of the chances they created.

Their hit the target with their first eleven shots, their only wide coming from a free from the left touchline by Tadhg Haran, who had six points up to then, five of them from placed balls in front of a crowd of 6,740 who braved the Artic conditions at the Salthill venue.

Mellows had the breeze behind them in the opening half and with Conor Elwood shooting two excellent points and Jack Forde, Conor Kavanagh and Ronan Elwood also hit good points.

Galway captain David Burke was narrowly wide with a goal chance just before the break for St Thomas as they did well to recover from 0-7 to 0-2 behind after 17 minutes.

Darragh Burke hit four points in the opening half, three of them from frees, while Eanna Burke and Bernard Burke also hit points from the champions to reduced the margin to four points by the interval.

Darragh pointed a free five minutes after the restart and then had a goal shot superbly deflected over by Mellows goalkeeper Kenneth Walsh to cut the gap to two.

St Thomas then introduced Fintan Burke as the promising Galway player made his return from a cruciate injury suffered in the All-Ireland club final defeat to Ballyhale Shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day.

Bernard Burke cut the gap to a point and then Eanna Burke blasted home a goal after a long free from his goalkeeper James Barrett to edge the champions 1-10 to 0-12 after 51 minutes.

Haran equalised but then Fintan Burke landed two excellent points to push St Thomas back in front with four minutes remaining.

Haran cut the gap to the minimum but an interception by David Burke ended with his brother Fintan setting up another sibling Eanna for the insurance score as they retained their title.

conor-cooney-lifts-the-trophy Conor Cooney lifts the Galway senior hurling trophy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for St Thomas: Eanna Burke 1-3, Darragh Burke 0-5 (0-4f), Fintan Burke 0-2, Bernard Burke 0-2, David Burke 0-1.

Scorers for Liam Mellows: Tadhg Haran 0-9 (0-7f, 0-1 sideline), Conor Elwood 0-2, Jack Forde 0-1, Conor Kavanagh 0-1, Ronan Elwood 0-1.

St Thomas

1. James Barrett

2. Cian Mahoney
3. Sean Skehill
7. David Sherry

5. Donal Cooney
6. Shane Cooney
4. Cathal Burke

8. James Regan
9. David Burke

10. Eanna Burke
11. Darragh Burke
12. Bernard Burke

15. Oisin Flannery
14. Conor Cooney
13. Brendan Farrell

Subs

30. Fintan Burke for Farrell (39)

21. Evan Duggan for B Burke (62)

Liam Mellows

1. Kenneth Walsh

7. Cathal Reilly
3. David Collins
4. Liam O’Donovan

8. Stephen Barrett
5. Mark Hughes
6. Sean Morrissey

9. Jack Forde
10. Adrian Morrissey

11. Jack Hastings
14. Conor Elwood
17. Ronan Elwood

12. Tadhg Haran
15. Aonghus Callanan
13. Conor Kavanagh

Subs

2. Brian Leen for O’Donovan (half-time)

37. Mike Conneely for Callanan (54)

23. John Lee for Forde (60)

Referee: Christy Browne (Ballinasloe)

********************

Slaughtneil (Derry) 1-15
Dunloy (Antrim) 0-10

Derry champions Slaughtneil were crowned Ulster victors for the third time in four seasons with today’s eight-point win in Newry.

Cormac O’Doherty bagged the only goal of the game in the 48th minute as they saw off Antrim champions Dunloy who finished with 14 men.

Slaughtneil were in front 0-8 to 0-6 and despite Conal Cunning grabbing 0-7 for Dunloy, it was man-of-the-match O’Doherty who raised the green flag from a penalty that spurred them on to success.

They’ll face the Leinster champions at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

We thought there might be a post-World Cup comedown, but then Saracens went and Saracened. Andy Dunne joins Sean Farrell and Gavan Casey as the pod segues from the international to club season.


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About the author:

John Fallon

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