Scene set for Galway hurling final humdinger with so much at stake

Inside Track with John McIntyre

The only time St Thomas’ and Turloughmore previously met in a county final – at Kenny Park in early October of 2020 – there was nobody at the match. Covid 19 had led to a ban on sporting crowds leading to an understandable surreal atmosphere in Athenry.

A Conor Cooney goal proved the decisive score as St Thomas’ ground out a narrow 1-14 to 0-15 triumph in completing the three-in-a-row. Two more senior titles have since been won by the men from Peterswell/Kilchreest who have yet to taste defeat in a county senior final. Seven played, seven won.

That is a remarkable record and St Thomas’ consistency has left the club on the brink of completing the six-in-a-row – a feat only achieved once before in Galway. In that context, it is appropriate they will be facing the parish who dominated hurling locally between 1961 and ’66.

Turloughmore would love nothing better than ending St Thomas’ ‘search for six’ so that their club would still stand alone in the record books. This backdrop adds intrigue to Sunday week’s showdown at Pearse Stadium with the prospect of one of the biggest crowds attending county final day over the past decade.

On the evidence of the weekend semi-finals, Turloughmore will be giving it a good rattle against the champions. It took St Thomas’ two games to topple Loughrea in last year’s decider; Turlough have done it in one. Daithí Burke and company held their nerve in stoppage time despite the pre-match favourites having retrieved a six-point deficit down the home stretch.

Having not seen Turloughmore for a few years, we had an open mind about their title winning capabilities, but they look to have most of the bases covered. Burke remains a defensive driving force, while they have a dependable free-taker in Conor Walsh. Furthermore, the likes of Mark Murphy, the Whelans, Sean Linnane, Daniel Loftus, Brendan Phelan, Tom Quirke and Jamie Holland won’t be backing off St Thomas’.

Pictured: Sarsfields’ Alex Connaire is chased by David Sherry and Shane Cooney of St Thomas’ during Sunday’s Senior Hurling Semi-Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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