You had to admire the bravery of an Abbey CBS team who led this bruising battle by a point (0-5 to 0-4) with 27 minutes played, but Thurles CBS upped their level of performance considerably thereafter, outscored their opponents seven-one either side of the interval and led by a significant five (0-11 to 0-6) by the 37th minute. Abbey CBS tried valiantly to engineer a route back into this contest, but the Thurles lads had established a significant buffer and were good value for the win.
Riain Doody and Darragh Woods traded early placed balls before Nathan Murphy-Crowe cracked over a superb left-handed point following neat work by Kieran Breen to present Abbey CBS with the lead in the fifth minute. Woods responded with a brace (one free) for Thurles before Doody brought seven scoreless minutes to a close with another free.
Miscommunication in the Abbey CBS goalmouth in the 19th minute almost permitted Woods’ lobbing sideline to find the net before Woods and Doody traded frees, once more. The searing effort of the Abbey CBS lads earned a significant dividend in the 27th minute when a bustling run from Kieran Breen created an opportunity for Adam McGrath to fire his side into a narrow lead.
Thurles CBS upped their performance a gear or three during the closing minutes of the half and led by two at the break (0-7 to 0-5) thanks to three efforts from Woods (two frees), his point from play a beauty. A magnificent catch in traffic from Thurles wing-back James Ryan also adorned the opening period.
Early in the second half, the Thurles CBS wide tally had climbed to ten before James Ryan picked out Anthony McKelvey with a neat delivery and the Moycarkey-Borris man fired his side into a three-point advantage. Doody (free) responded for Abbey CBS, but a right-handed point from TJ Butler and a Woods free preceded a Woods cracker from play in the 37th minute (0-11 to 0-6).
Thurles CBS conceded 17 frees and indiscipline presenting Doody with an opportunity to drag his side back into contention. It was 0-11 to 0-8 entering the final quarter.
Bryan O’Mara intercepted a hand pass with 11 to play and cracked over a smashing long-range point for Thurles, and although Doody responded with a free, Thurles saw out this contest in composed fashion. A Darren Flood effort from play and a Woods free (from ten yards inside his own 65-yard line) settled it convincingly.
D Woods (0-10, 0-7 frees); B O’Mara, A McKelvey, TJ Butler, D Flood (0-1 each)
R Doody (0-7 frees), A McGrath, Nathan Murphy-Crowe (0-1 each)
E Bourke, D Carew, E O’Gorman, K O’Dwyer, S Ryan, M Purcell, J Ryan, J Jordan, B O’Mara (0-1), C Bowe, D Woods, A McKelvey (0-1), TJ Butler (0-1), E Barry, C Bourke.
M Nally for Jordan (46), D Flood for Barry (28), C Connolly for Bourke (58), A Ryan for O’Mara (62).
A Griffin, T Byron, D Byron, B Barlow, S Ryan, N Heffernan, M McCormack, S O’Brien, K Breen, N Murphy-Crowe (0-1), R Doody (0-7, 0-7 frees), C Donovan, C Bradshaw, A McGrath, S Neville.
E McCormack for Bradshaw (HT), F Halligan for McGrath (49)
Martin Ryan (Tipperary)