Cummins’ goal crucial as Gort edge Saints for final ticket

A GOAL from Richie Cummins two minutes from the end of normal time sent Mattie Murphy’s Gort into the Galway SHC final.

A game which was played in a downpour in Kenny Park in Athenry never ignited until Cummins lashed the ball to the net one-handed after a powerful run from Aidan Harte carved opened the St Thomas rearguard. And in the ensuing nine minutes of injury-time all St Thomas could reply with was a point from wing-back Darragh Burke.

But St Thomas will wonder how they didn’t secure the win, especially after they dominated the opening half. And despite their impressive movement and score-taking they still trailed 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.

Bernard Burke got St Thomas off to a fine start with two fine points from play before Gerard O’Donoghue did well to fend off Sean Burke and point from the right.

A 65 and a free from the right from Darragh Burke saw Thomas stretch their advantage out to three points, but five consecutive frees and a terrific point from halfway by Brian Regan sent Gort in one up at half time.

After a tepid opening 30 minutes, the intensity expected from this local derby soon erupted with referee Christy Browne brandishing yellow cards to O’Donoghue and Darragh Burke in the opening exchanges.

From Burke’s misdemeanour, Quinn added his sixth free, but a youthful St Thomas, hoping to reach their first ever final, soon drew level thanks to well-worked points from Bernard Burke and Kenneth Burke.

Midway through the second-half, with the clash balanced on a knife edge, Gort corner-back Andy Coen landed an amazing free from deep in his own half to give Gort a one-point lead.

But once more Darragh Burke pulled St Thomas level with a long distance free before Richie Cummins missed a golden opportunity for the crucial goal five minutes later when his ground stroke missed the target by inches.

Quinn hit a super score from the right after Coen’s clever short free picked him out and in the 58th minute Cummins ran onto Harte’s through-ball to fire the winning goal for Murphy’s side.

An incredible nine minutes of extra time ensued and Darragh Burke hit his fourth point to put just a goal between the sides.

But five minutes into added time Ollie Fahy flashed a ground stroke over the bar to send Gort into the decider.

Scorers for Gort: G Quinn 0-7 (6fs), R Cummins 1-0, A Coen (f), B Regan, O Fahy, G O’Donoghue 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Thomas: Darragh Burke 0-4 (2fs, 1 65), B Burke 0-3, C Cooney 0-2 (1f), K Burke 0-1.

GORT: P Cummins; A Coen, M McMahon, M Cummins; G Lally, B Regan, J Grealish; S Óg Linnane, S Forde; G Quinn, A Harte, P Killilea; R Cummins, O Fahy, G O’Donoghue.

Subs: K Killilea for Forde (42), M Nestor for O’Donoghue (46), A Mullins for Quinn (60), T Linnane for M Cummins (65).

ST THOMAS: J Barrett; J Kelly, Robert Murray, S Burke; Darragh Burke, D Cooney, C Burke; K Burke, David Burke; G Murray, E Tannion, C Cooney; A Kelly, J Regan, B Burke.

Subs: Richie Murray for G Murray (ht), S Skehill for Kelly (48), G Murray for Skehill (57).

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