In an epic encounter at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, both sides retained their unbeaten records in this year’s championship.
A Neil Carey goal early in the second half gave Loughrea the upper hand, but St Thomas looked likely to claim the win when they hit four points in-a-row midway through the half to give themselves a 3-11 to 2-10 advantage.
However, Loughrea finished the stronger and five consecutive points meant Burke’s heroics were needed to save the day for St Thomas.
Mullagh also claimed their spot in the last eight after they picked up a ten-point win over Sarsfields at Duggan Park yesterday.
Kerril Wade got Sarsfields off to a flying start with a goal in the fourth minute, but despite having Conor Dervan’s penalty saved Mullagh still led by a point at the break.
Craig Finnerty’s goal nine minutes from time pushed Mullagh seven points clear, yet Wade had a chance for Sarsfields, but his penalty was saved as Mullagh ran riot late on to seal a 1-21 to 1-11 victory.
Turloughmore finished top of Group C after a 2-16 to 2-11 win over Beagh at Athenry.
After a tight first half, Daithí Burke fired a penalty to the net for Turlough, but Kieran Divilly batted a goal to draw Beagh level. However, Ronan Badger hit his tenth point of the match to pull Turloughmore clear and Burke’s late free clinched the victory.
Nine points from Ger Farragher helped Castlegar to a 0-21 to 0-17 win over Craughwell, who had Niall Healy in fine form with 0-11 points. Castlegar follow Portumna into the hat for the last eight draw from Group B.
Despite losing by 1-13 to 1-12 at the hands of Moycullen, Padraig Pearses made it through to the quarter-finals by virtue of points difference in Group A. But defending champions Gort topped the group with three wins from three after a 1-24 to 2-13 win over Tommy Larkins on Friday.