Thurles Sarsfields 0-27
By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium.
Thurles Sarsfields honoured the memory of Mickey ‘The Rattler’ Byrne by turning in an emphatic county final display to down Kiladangan in Thurles this afternoon.
Byrne’s passing this morning was marked by a minute’s silence before throw-in and the 14-time county SHC medallist would have loved this as the Blues claimed three-in-a-row.
It’s the first time since the 1960s that Sars have managed a treble but they had nine points to spare against Kiladangan, appearing in a first final since 1938.
Pa Bourke led the scoring charge with nine points, including seven frees, but Aidan McCormack and Richie Ruth were excellent too for Sars, contributing 11 points between them.
Sars had eight players on the scoresheet in total and by half-time, much of the hard work was done.
Sars were 0-15 to 0-6 clear at the interval and very much in cruise control.
Within the opening ten minutes, they had nine points on the board, Ruth contributing four of those in a blistering start.
It took Kiladangan, suffering from stage fright to a large degree, until the 21st minute before they managed a score from play.
It was token response, however, as Sars kept the scoreboard ticking over in decent conditions.
On a number of occasions, goal opportunities were there for the taking if Sars wanted them but they were content with points instead.
Former Hurler of the Year Lar Corbett got in on the scoring act with a long-range special in the 21st minute and while Kiladangan did score three of the last five points of the first half, the men from the North were facing an uphill battle ahead of the second half.
They did draw the second period but Sars had their biggest lead of the game, 0-21 to 0-9, 15 minutes from home.
Joe Gallagher’s fine goal a minute later was mere consolation for Kiladangan and while they got to within seven points approaching the finish, Sars closed the game out with late points from Stephen Lillis and Bourke (free).
Ronan Maher’s defensive display earned the Tipperary All-Ireland SHC medallist the man of the match award and his 43rd minute sideline cut, which split the Town End uprights from almost 70m, was worth the admission fee alone.
It’s been a hell of a few weeks for Maher, brother Pádraic, Michael Cahill and Aidan McCormack, following their inter-county exploits but with the talent in the Sars ranks, there could be more good times to come.
Scorers for Thurles Sarsfields: P Bourke 0-9 (7f), A McCormack 0-6, R Ruth 0-5, R Maher (1 sl) & C Lanigan 0-2 each, S Maher, S Lillis & L Corbett 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kiladangan: D Egan 0-6 (5f), J Gallagher 1-1, W Connors 0-3 (1 65s) R Gleeson 0-2, J Horan, P Flynn & T Gallagher 0-1 each.
THURLES SARSFIELDS: P McCormack; M Cahill, S Lillis, S Maher; D Maher, P Maher, R Maher; S Cahill, B McCarthy; T Doyle, A McCormack, P Bourke; C Lanigan, R Ruth, L Corbett.
Subs: R Dwan for D Maher (50), J Maher for Lanigan (52), D Kennedy for Corbett (59), K O’Gorman for Ruth (60+3).
KILADANGAN: B Hogan; J Quigley, H Flannery, F Hayes; D Sweeney, A Flynn, D Moran; J Horan, M Minehan; J Gallagher, W Connors, R Gleeson; T Gallagher, D Egan, P Flynn.
Subs: J Loughnane for Minehan (24), E Kelly for Horan (45).
Referee: J McCormack (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams)