Bourke keeps Sars on course

THURLES SARSFIELDS stayed on course for a third successive Tipperary SHC title, seeing off the challenge of Loughmore-Castleiney by 3-17 to 2-16 in a thrilling quarter-final at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

A free-flowing first half yielded five goals in a quality contest. Denis Maher got the first for Sarsfields after seven minutes but two minutes later Noel McGrath netted from a penalty for Loughmore. The sides were level at 1-6 each when Lar Corbett pounced for Sarsfields’ second goal, but again Loughmore hit back, Michael Webster blazing home a minute later.

Next it was Pa Bourke’s turn, his cracking goal in the 29th minute sending Sarsfields in at the break with a 3-7 to 2-8 lead.

The crucial period came between the 40th and 46th minutes when Sarsfields hit four unanswered points through Pa Bourke(3) and Stephen Lillis to go six points clear.

Loughmore put in a determined effort in the closing minutes but Sarsfields, with, Padraic Maher, Michael Cahill, Stephen Lillis, Larry Corbett and Pa Bourke, who scored (1-6), showing the way, held on for an impressive win despite the best efforts of Noel McGrath, Liam McGrath, John Meagher, and Tom King.

County panellist John O’Neill’s two second-half goals for Clonoulty-Rossmore ended Eire Óg Nenagh’s challenge as last year’s beaten finalists won easily by 3-18 to 0-14.

Although Nenagh started well, going 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after 15 minutes, a Clonoulty goal by Sean Maher in the 21st minute tipped the scales in their favour and they led 1-9 to 0-6 at the break.

Clonoulty were still six points clear when O’Neill notched his first goal in the 43rd minute. Six minutes later, he added another to put Clonoulty 3-14 to 0-11 in front. Nenagh’s Ritchie Flannery had a penalty effort stopped and Michael Heffernan was also denied a goal by a good save by Declan O’ Dwyer.

John Devane, the O’Keeffes, Paudie White, who scored five points from midfield and John O’Neill who scored 2-3 were the key men for Clonoulty. Richie Flannery, Mark Flannery, Paul Ryan and Michael Heffernan did most for Nenagh.

Eoin Kelly was in top form for Mullinahone as they shocked Borris-Ileigh 2-21 to 0-21 after extra-time. Kelly scored 2-13 in all, his goals coming from 20-meter frees.

Mullinahone trailed 0-7 to 0-11 at half-time as Borris, inspired by Brendan Maher, called the shots. Mullinahone were still chasing their rivals when Kelly bagged his first goal from a penalty in the 57th minute to level the game. Borris once more hit the front but a 20 metre free towards the sideline awarded to Mullinahone was disputed, prompting referee Paddy Ivers to centre the ball and Kelly made no mistake for a 2-16 to 0-20 lead at the extra time interval. Subsequently, Borris faded and a Mullinahone strode to a clear win.

Apart from Eoin Kelly, Paul Kelly, Paul Curran, Niall Curran, and Edwin O’Meara had key roles while Borris looked to Brendan Maher, Paddy Stapleton, Dan McCormack and Benny Harkin for leadership.

Seamus Callanan registered 12 points, six from play, as Drom-Inch saw off the challenge of Toomevara with surprising ease.

Toome were without suspended John O Brien and emigrated Joey McLoughney, and they suffered a further setback when Benny Dunne had to retire injured early in the second-half.

However, the big turning point was when they lost David Young to a second yellow card three minutes into the second-half. Drom had led 1-9 to 0-10 at the end of a tight first-half, David Butler getting the Drom goal after seven minutes. Drom were still only two points ahead when Young was red-carded but Toome then collapsed as Drom reeled off seven points in nine minutes. Willie Ryan’s goal three minutes from time was of little consolation to Toome.

Callanan was an inspiring figure but James Woodlock, Eamon Buckley, Michael Costello and David Butler were others to have a big say. Young was going well for Toome ‘til his dismissal while Terry and Ken Dunne were others to figure prominently.

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