St Thomas have won all three county finals they have played in — having only made it to their first decider in 2012 — and they will go into a repeat of last year’s Galway SHC showdown against Liam Mellows as favourites in two weeks’time to retain the title for the first time.
Turloughmore’s hopes of reaching the final for the first time since 1990 was in serious doubt in front of over 6,000 supporters at Kenny Park in Athenry when the champions raced into a 2-3 to 0-1 lead.
And while a youthful Turloughmore side never gave up, the most they reduced the margin to was five points in the final quarter when substitute Ronan Badger fired home a goal.
A grandstand finish might have followed had Badger not shot a penalty wide moments later but St Thomas, with Galway captain David Burke solid in midfield and skipper Conor Cooney leading the attack, always looked like they had more in the tank.
A goal from Brendan Farrell saw them lead 1-2 to 0-0 after just five minutes and they were well on their way to the final when Cooney blasted home a penalty after Farrell was fouled.
St Thomas goalkeeper James Barrett had saved superbly from Sean Linnane in the opening minutes and also produced a stunning save to deny Conor Walsh in the final quarter.
Turloughmore were largely dependent on Walsh frees for scores but St Thomas had more penetration up front and led by 2-8 to 0-8 at the break thanks to five different scorers.
Oisin Flannery, a Galway minor All-Ireland winner last year, rifled home a ground shot two minutes after the restart with points from Cooney and Dara Burke pushing the lead out to 3-10 to 0-8.
Turloughmore prevented a landslide defeat with a good recovery with All-Star Daithi Burke, who will be hoping for better fortunes for Corofin in the Galway football replay next week, coming more into the game around the middle of the field.
The introduction of Badger gave the Turloughmore attack more potency but they were not able to rescue the day and finished with 14 men when corner-back Matthew Keating was sent off in the closing stages.
Scorers for St Thomas: Dara Burke 0-7 (0-7f), C Cooney 1-2 (1-0 pen), O Flannery 1-1, B Farrell 1-0, J Regan 0-2, David Burke 0-1, B Burke 0-1.
Scorers for Turloughmore: C Walsh 0-9 (0-9f), R Badger 1-0, J Holland 0-3 (0-3f) S Loftus 0-2, B McDonagh 0-1.
ST THOMAS: J Barrett; C Mahoney, S Skehill, D Sherry; D Cooney, S Cooney, C Burke; J Regan, David Burke; B Burke, Dara Burke, D McGlynn; O Flannery, C Cooney, B Farrell.
Subs: J Caulfield for McGlynn (38), E Duggan for Mahoney (52), E Burke for Farrell (58), C Kelly for Flannery (60).
TURLOUGHMORE: M Fahy; M Morris, R Burke, M Keating; F Moore, J Holland, D Loftus; D Burke, K Hussey; R Doyle, C Walsh, S Linnane; B McDonagh, G Burke, S Loftus.
Subs: D Holland for G Burke (37), C Shaughnessy for Doyle (37), R Badger for D Loftus (44).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Rahoon).