Senior hurling quarter-finals fail to serve up much fire and brimstone

Inside Track with John McIntyre

SO much for the hope of competitive Galway senior hurling quarter-finals last weekend. One of them turned into a turkey shoot; two more ended up in big margins of victory; while the two points that separated Loughrea and Clarinbridge wasn’t reflective of the exchanges.

In setting up a repeat of last year’s county semi-final against champions St Thomas’, Sarsfields handed out a thrashing to Oranmore/Maree whose lack of experience of big-time hurling was plain to see at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. They had begun lively enough with scores from Niall Burke, Jack Grealish, Rory Burke, and Ruben Davitt, but the writing was on the wall by the break.

Trailing by 0-10 to 0-6 having had the backing of the elements was an ominous portent of what was to come. And that’s what transpired as Oranmore/Maree were overwhelmed by a purposeful Sarsfields team which had team captain Kevin Cooney in devastating form. One thing for sure, they won’t be losing to St Thomas’ by 10 points on Sunday week.

The title holders had looked in a bit of bother early on against Cappataggle the previous afternoon, but St Thomas’ hung in there with the shoulder injury sustained by Niall Collins no help to their opponents. It was still tight enough in the third quarter, but Conor Cooney and Eanna Burke started swinging over the points, with late goals from Oisín Flannery and Darren Farrell sealing the deal.

The opening game in Salthill on Saturday was the latest clash between traditional heavyweights Castlegar and Turloughmore. It had all the hallmarks of being a tight encounter and that’s the way it was turning out until the 2020 finalists turned the screw in the final quarter. A fortuitous goal from Daithí Burke was a turning point while Jamie Holland fired home a second before the end.

Pictured: Loughrea’s Darren Shaughnessy making the the hard yards against Alan Armstrong of Clarinbridge during Sunday’s Senior A hurling quarter-final in Loughrea.  Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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