Reduced to 14 players, after wing-forward Mathew Ryan was sent off 10 minutes into the second-half, heroic Borrisoleigh held on to maintain their interest in the competition and dash the hopes of Thurles making it through to the knock-out stages.
In what was one of the most passionate and invigorating encounters witness in the Harty for some time, Borrisoleigh garnered the spoils because of their superior first-half performance and the great resilience they showed after the break. Although Thurles drew first blood with a point from centre-forward Richard O’Gorman after three minutes, St Joseph’s grabbed the initiative with two points on the trot from midfielder David O’Connor, followed by one of the most fortuitous goals imaginable, scored by right-half forward LJ Ryan.
The Borrisoleigh winger hit a speculative drive in the 6th minute and unfortunately for Thurles, goalkeeper Barry Donovan appeared to be under the impression that the ball was going wide.
However, and the ball ended up in the corner of the net. A crucial score as events transpired.
With wing-forward Brian Moran impressing with his accurate striking, Thurles temporarily clawed their way back, but two points from team captain James Woodlock and Matthew Ryan left it 1-5 to 0-4 in Borrisoleigh’s favour at half-time.
Corner-forward Séamus Callinan stretched the winner’s lead to six points before Ryan’s dismissal. Undeterred by this setback, Borrisoleigh extended their lead to seven with a fine point from substitute Brendan Maher at the end of the third quarter.
But a cracking goal by sub Daniel Kirby in the 53rd minute threw the cat among the pigeons and was the catalyst for a do-or-die survival effort by Thurles.
Two pointed frees by Moran narrowed the gasp to two with time running out but a herculean Borrisoleigh defence, inspired by the magnificence of full back David Kearns and centre back Patrick Stapleton, held firm.
Scorers: St. Joseph's, Borrisoleigh: L. J. Ryan 1-0; D. O'Connor 0-3 (0-2 from frees); M. Ryan 0-2; S. Callinane, J. Woodlock and B. Maher 0-1 each.
Thurles CBS. D. Kirby 1-0; B. Moran 0-4 (0-2 from frees); T. Hassett and R. O'Gorman 0-1 each.
ST. JOSEPH'S, BORRISOLEIGH: M. Ryan; E. Woodlock, D. Kearns, M. Butler; J. Harkin, P. Stapleton, D. Kennedy; J. Woodlock, D. O'Connor; L. J. Ryan, B. Graydon, M. Ryan; S. Ryan, E. Costello, S. Callinan. Sub. B. Maher for Ryan.
THURLES CBS: B. Donovan; B. Barrett, K. Shorthall, M. Collins; E. Ryan, T. King, L. Devane; D. Patterson, J. Dixon; B. Moran, R. O'Gorman, S. Lillis; T. Hassett, D. Murphy, A. Sweeney. Subs. D. Kirby for Murphy; P. Kelly for Sweeney; P. Burke for O'Gorman.
Referee. M. Meade (Limerick).