There was drama aplenty in Loughrea on Saturday afternoon as hot favourites Gort were overturned in stoppage time by Cappataggle, a result that was the main talking point from last weekend’s round of fixtures in the Galway senior hurling championship.
A pulsating game finished 2-10 to 1-12 in Tony Nevin’s side’s favour, with the evergreen Damien Joyce proving to be the hero with the winning score after free-taker Alan Dolan had levelled matters only moments earlier.
With strong wind and heavy showers playing havoc at most venues on an inclement afternoon, this was one of a number of games where the team playing with the conditions in the first half were under pressure to build up a lead before trying to hang on for the win.
Cappy’s dramatic win sees them leapfrog Gort into third place in group two, behind Loughrea and Sarsfields, who both recorded wins on Saturday. Loughrea, with Jamie Ryan in good form and Neil Keary finding the net, were far too strong for Kilnadeema-Leitrim and prevailed by 1-22 to 2-10.
Sarsfields were also in control throughout against Tynagh Abbey/Duniry in Gort, winning in the end by 0-17 to 0-13, and they will be hopeful of claiming one of the top two spots in the group that guarantees a place in the quarter-finals come October.
Turloughmore maintained their position as pacesetters in group one with a 2-17 to 2-14 win over Tommy Larkins, with Ronan Badger and Seán Linnane striking for first-half goals. Turloughmore led by eight as injury time began with Jason Flynn’s late goal proving little more than a consolation.
In Pearse Stadium, there were only two points between St Thomas and Castlegar before the champions pulled clear when Conor Cooney’s goal helped them to a 1-16 to 0-12 victory. David Burke hit a string of second-half points to give St Thomas the lead after Oisín Connolly’s scoring exploits had helped Castlegar to a 0-9 to 0-7 half-time advantage.
Liam Mellows were too strong for Portumna as they restricted Joe Canning to a solitary point on his return to club action. David Collins struck Mellows' first-half goal before Tadhg Haran inflicted most of the second-half damage. The city side has Tommy Larkins and Castlegar left to play when they go in search of a place in the last eight.
In Senior B, there were wins for Ballinderreen and Padraig Pearse's that eased both sides' relegation fears, with Abbeyknockmoy and Beagh looking likely contenders for the drop. Oranmore/Maree claimed a valuable 2-18 to 2-13 win over Athenry in group one, while Craughwell steamrolled Ahascragh/Fohenagh by 0-23 to 0-9 to move into second place on scoring difference.
This weekend sees the remaining two games in group two take place in Kenny Park on Saturday afternoon as last weekend’s Kilmacud Crokes 7s runners-up Mullagh play table-toppers Killimordaly before Ardrahan take on Clarinbridge.