Coen and O’Loughlin goals help steer Loughrea to another final

Loughrea 2-18 Beagh 1-11
Beagh’s maiden Galway SHC semi-final appearance ended with a whimper as goals from Johnny Coen and Johnny O’Loughlin fired Loughrea to their fourth final in five years.

Stagefright seemed to grip Beagh, who never came close to the two-time champions, who led by 10 points by half-time. Kevin Keehan goaled from a free late on for Beagh, but they could not survive with Loughrea’s inspirational forwards, especially Neil Keary, who hit nine points.

Beagh looked nervous from the outset, and an experienced Loughrea quickly opened a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.

Beagh got their first score in the 12th minute through a Kevin Keehan free, but the dead ball accuracy of Keary kept Loughrea clocking up the scores. Keary landed his fourth to make it 0-6 to 0-2 in the 19th minute and two minutes later they struck for the crucial goal when Johnny O’Loughlin beat Kevin O’Grady with a low shot.

The goal seemed to kickstart the Beagh challenge and Pat Divney and Adrian Tuohey both landed points from play to close the gap to six points .

But just on the verge of half-time Loughrea put the result beyond doubt when Coen gathered a break and goaled after a long delivery into the square, which the Beagh full-back line failed to deal with.

Beagh improved after the restart and hit four of the next six points, Tuohey firing a great score from play to compliment Keehan’s dead ball accuracy. But the closest the got to Loughrea was eight points, as Coen and Keary both cut loose in the last 10 minutes to send their side to the decider.

LOUGHREA: N Murray; T Regan, D McClearn, E Mahony; V Maher, B Mahony (0-1), S Sweeney (0-1); E Mahony, G Keary; N Keary (0-9, 4f, 1’65), J Coen (1-2), P Hoban (0-1); J O’Loughlin (1-2), J Maher (0-2), J Ryan. Subs: T Hoban for Ryan 42, J Dooley for Regan 55, S McCormack for Keary 58.

BEAGH: K O’Grady; E Tuohey, J Morris, B McGuane; PJ McAllen (0-1), R Gantley, M Geaghan; D Landers, J Divney (0-1); J Gantley, K Keehan (1-6fs), A Tuohey (0-2); P Landers, K Divney, P Divney (0-1).

Sub: T McKeown for McAllen 56.

Referee: John Keane.

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