An understrength Galway Teachers went down to a strong Suir Engineering side by 1-18 to 1-10 in the Interfirms All Ireland Senior Hurling semi-final in Kilkenny on Saturday.
It was a valiant attempt by the Galway Teachers who were short the St Thomas & Ahascragh/Fohenagh contingent, as well as the Galway players in Walsh Cup action.
They had led by three at the interval thanks to a Darragh Curry goal, and were just one behind in the final quarter, but a strong final flourish from the Waterford side set up an All Ireland final clash with Offaly’s Grant Engineering or Glanbia from Kilkenny. The difference between the sides in the end was the accuracy of Johnstown's Conor Tobin, who finished with a personal tally of 12 points for the Munster men.
Early points from Conor Tobin and Niall Doherty had Suir ahead with Rory Gantley replying for the Galway side with a free on 11 minutes. After squandering a number of opportunities in the early exchanges, both sides exchanged points - goalkeeper Eric Warde from a long range free for the Galway side, but Sui Engineering led by two early in the second quarter.
The Teachers then hit the front when Paul Killilea was fouled close to the Suir goal, and Darragh Curry fired a quick free to the back of the net. Minutes later the lead was stretched to two when Jamie Ryan was on target. And when Rory Gantley posted two frees, with Brian O Meara replying for the Waterford side, the Galway side led 1-5 to 0-5 at half time.
Teachers continued to apply pressure, with another Rory Gantley free and a fine score from John Brehony before the sides exchanged points with Colm Larkin on target for the Teachers.
However Suir then grabbed the initiative and struck 1-4 without reply, the goal from Brian O Meara.
Rory Gantley reduced the margin to one early in the final quarter, and with nother exchange of points, with John Brehony on target for the Teachers, there was just one between the sides with 12 minutes remaining.
However that was as good as it was to get for the Teachers. Suir finished stronger with Conor Tobin scoring a further six points to finish eight point victors in the end.
Galway Teachers: E Warde(0-1, f ), M Monaghan, E Kiely, T Mannion, S Linnane, B Mahony, P Concannon, R Gantley(0-5, 5f ), C Larkin(0-1 ), J Brehony(0-2 ), D Curry(1-0 ), J Ryan(0-1 ), S Kilduff, P Killilea, C Flynn Subs: E Mahony, N Armstrong.