Powered by several of the Clare minor team that did so well this year, he Ennis college trailed was actually by a point behind at the break, 0-9 to 0-8 at the break, but three second-half goals saw them ease to a comfortable win against a game but outclassed Thurles.
Flannan’s got off to a strong start, 0-4 to 0-0 ahead after just five minutes; corner-forwards Shane O’Donnell and Peter Duggan had one apiece, with midfielder and man-of-the-match Tony Kelly already stamping his class with a brace. Thurles hit back immediately, points from Seán Maher, Kevin Slattery and centre-forward Aidan McCormack, scorer of a phenomenal 19 points in the recent Tipperary county minor final for Thurles.
McCormack lined out at corner-forward for the Thurles Sars senior team that beat Toomevara in last Sunday’s Tipperary county semi-final and, though well defended by a Flannan’s half-back line in which team captain Stephen O’Halloran was superb, he played a major part as the Tipperary college recovered well from their poor start.
Also showing up well for Thurles were John Ryan and John Meagher, full-back and centre-back respectively. Up front wing-forward Seán Maher was an impressive figure all through, especially when moved to the 40’, and with those guys all going well, when Thurles went on a five points to nil run in the second quarter it even began to look as though a surprise was on the cards.
Thurles actually extended their lead immediately after the break, a pointed free by McCormack from half-way. Flannan’s fought back, however, got to grips with the threat of McCormack, and in the 37th minute regained the lead, a searing run right through the heart of the Thurles defence by centre-forward Cathal Doohan !that ended with a shot from close range, and a brilliant individual goal. Barely a minute later, Thurles still reeling from that one, Flannan’s did it again, this time hard-working wing-forward Conor O’Gorman with the lethal finish off a Doohan centre, making it 2-9 to 0-10. Thurles rallied, points from Seamus Kennedy and Dylan Burke putting just a goal between them again in the 40th minute (2-9 to 0-12).
The final 20 minutes were dominated by Flannan’s, however, Kelly outstanding in midfield, and his unstoppable penalty in the 46th minute after Alan O’Neill was pulled down sealed matters.
Scorers for St. Flannan’s: T Kelly 1-10 (1-0 pen, 0-8 frees, 0-1 65); C Doohan 1-2; C O’Gorman 1-0; P Duggan, S O’Donnell, M O’Leary, J Colleran, J Browne, 0-1 each.
Thurles CBS: S Maher 1-3; A McCormack 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 65); K Slattery 0-2 (0-1 free); C Hammersley, D Burke, S Kennedy, 0-1 each.
ST. FLANNAN’S: P Kennedy; S Morey, N Purcell, C O’Loughlin; G O’Connell, S O’Halloran (c), E Boyce; J Colleran, T Kelly; M O’Leary, C Doohan, C O’Gorman; S O’Donnell, A O’Neill, P Duggan.
Subs: J Browne for Duggan (53); M Sweeney for O’Donnell (58).
THURLES CBS: J Maher; M Cussen, J Ryan, J Burke; C Quirke, J Meagher, D Corbett; P Ralph, S Kennedy; S Maher, A McCormack, D Burke; M O’Brien, K Slattery, C Hammersley.
Subs: L Egan for Cussen (38); E Moriarty for D Burke (50); M O’Dwyer for Quirke (51); S Cahill for Slattery (58); P Egan for McCormack (60).
Referee: S Hourigan (St. Mary’s, Rathkeale).