Turlough rise to the test in booking county final place

Turloughmore 2-22

Loughrea 1-22

IT was written in the stars. The only club to have won six consecutive senior hurling titles in Galway is fittingly the remaining obstacle to that magnificent feat being emulated in the 2023 county final on Sunday week.

That scenario is bound to add fuel to Turloughmore’s fire against champions St Thomas’ in what will be only the club’s fourth appearance in a Galway decider since completing the famed six-in-a-row in 1966.

And after downing last year’s finalists Loughrea in Sunday’s big last-four collision at Pearse Stadium – hardly the big surprise some are making the result out to be – Turloughmore will return to Salthill in just over a week’s time with few inhibitions about taking on the title holders.

They were deserving winners too, scoring four of the last five points to edge out a Loughrea team which sorely missed the pace and scoring abilities of Jamie Ryan, who was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

But Turloughmore had their injury woes as well with both Kevin Hussey and Michael Morris absentees. It didn’t prevent them from producing arguably their most compelling display since reaching the county final in 2020.

With a 12-point haul from accurate free-taker Conor Walsh; Daithí Burke and Daniel Loftus a strong presence in their half-back line; goal scorer Tom Quirke and Seán Linnane tireless around midfield; and Brendan Phelan a useful target man, Turloughmore proved a well-balanced outfit.

Throw in the scoring contributions of Cillian Whelan and Matthew Tarpey, together with Jamie Holland’s ball-winning capacity on the 40, the team managed by former players, Darren O’Shaughnessy and Brian Holland, look primed to give St Thomas’ a serious run for their money.

Pictured: Turloughmore’s Brendan Phelan secures possession against Caimin Killeen of Loughrea during Sunday’s County Senior Hurling Semi-Final at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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