St. Thomas’ 1-12
A goal from Galway senior Brian Concannon midway through the second half broke the spirited challenge of underdogs St. Thomas’ in a hugely entertaining 2018 U21 A1 decider at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe last Thursday evening.
Concannon’s goal on 43 minutes was the first time a highly fancied Killimordaly took the lead, the victors finally getting their noses in front on a 1-10 to 1-8 scoreline. From there on in, they never looked back, although St. Thomas’ continued to fight the good fight.
The young men of Peterswell/Kilchreest may well look back on this competition and wonder what if? Forced to line out without their influential captain Fintan Burke, who sustained a cruciate injury in the All-Ireland senior club hurling final on St. Patrick’s Day, an argument could be made that had he been available last Thursday they could well have been crowned champions.
That said, the history books will show the honour of U21 A1 champions has fallen to Killimordaly who, after a laboured first half, turned on the style in the second period. There was a significant improvement in their general play, reflected in that they outscored St. Thomas’ by 1-9 to six points in this time.
Immediately after the break, St. Thomas’ took up where they left off in the first half with the outstanding Oisin Flannery, who finished with 0-8, converting a free. However, Killimordaly then hit four unanswered points to level up the contest, 0-10 to 1-7, by the 41st minute.
All of those four Killimordaly points came from placed balls and this was notable as coming up to the three-quarter mark, referee Shane Hynes had awarded three times as many frees to Killimordaly than to St. Thomas’.
This was a bone of contention. St. Thomas’ had brought massive intensity to this final in the opening half, with some robust challenges angering the Killimordaly sideline. Hynes dealt with these incidents in a sensible manner.
However, as the game went on, the free count swung heavy in Killimordaly’s favour and this was reflected in the huge disparity — 14 to five — by the three-quarter mark. In scorable frees over the 60 plus minutes, the count was 15 to eight against St. Thomas’. Frees had a huge bearing on the outcome.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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