Veteran Pa Bourke grabbed two goals as Thurles Sarsfields saw off the challenge of arch-rivals Loughmore-Castleiney with surprising ease in the Tipperary SHC round two game at Semple Stadium on Friday evening.
This tie did not live up to expectations as the Loughmore challenge petered out in the third quarter and though they finished well, they game was beyond them at that stage.
In a first half of quality scoring, the difference between the sides at the interval was Pa Bourke’s goal for Sarsfields after being set up by David Corbett. It enabled the Thurles lads to lead at the break, 1-14 to 0-14.
County star John McGrath was giving a masterclass for Loughmore with eight of their points, three from play, but all Sarsfields' forwards had scored in the period. Loughmore would have the breeze in their favour in the second half and the contest was still very much in the balance.
Sarsfields stamped their authority on proceedings in the third quarter, Pa Bourke’s second goal, off a Billy McCarthy pass, putting them 2-17 to 0-15 clear. At the second water break, it was 2-22 to 0-20 in Sarsfields favour and they saw out the closing stages with confidence to secure their second win of the Championship and ensure themselves of a place in the knock-out stages.
It was a hugely impressive showing from Sarsfields with Padraic and Ronan Maher, Conor Lanigan, Pa Bourke, Aidan McCormack, and Billy McCarthy the key men.
John McGrath was virtually waging a one-man battle for a Loughmore side that struggled in the second half. Aidan McGrath, John Meagher, and Evan Sweeney were others to do well.
P Bourke (2-3), A McCormack (0-8, 4fs), C Lanigan (0-6), R Maher (0-3), E Purcell, D Maher, B McCarthy (0-2 each), J Maher, P Maher (0-1 each).
J McGrath (0-14, 10fs), A McGrath, E Sweeney, N McGrath, C Connolly (0-2 each), Conor McGrath, Ciaran McGrath, J Meagher (0-1 each).
P McCormack; C Moloney, S Maher, M Cahill; D Corbett, P Maher, K Moloney; R Maher, S Cahill; B McCarthy, P Bourke, A McCormack; E Purcell, C Lanigan, D Maher.
M Gleeson for S Cahill (42), J Maher for Bourke (48), T Doyle for Corbett (55).
D Kennedy; L Egan, B McGrath, W Eviston; J Ryan, A McGrath, J Meagher; N McGrath, T McGrath; L Treacy, Ciaran McGrath, C Connolly; Conor McGrath, J McGrath, E Sweeney.
J Nyland for Treacy (32), J Hennessy and T Maher for Connolly and Ciaran McGrath (50).
F Horgan, Knockavilla Kickhams.