Liam Mellows 1-13
Liam Mellows have enjoyed a run of remarkable consistency since winning the county title in 2017, but a scintillating performance by Loughrea last Sunday in Athenry ensured they will not be lining out in the county final for a fourth successive year.
Having to rise to the challenge week after week against quality opposition since losing their opening round game to St Thomas, it finally caught up with Liam Mellows. Their energy levels were not quite at the required levels to overcome a determined and well-drilled Loughrea who were never behind at any stage of this quarter-final.
With Johnny Coen and Paul Hoban in uncompromising form at the heart of the Loughrea defence, the Liam Mellows' attack was largely suffocated with only Conor Hynes (first half ) getting any sort of joy. By contrast Loughrea had plenty of important contributors who made up for the absence of Jamie Ryan through suspension.
Martin McManus was one of many stars for Loughrea on a day where they shot a highly commendable 17 points from play from eight different sources, but it was their reaction to Tadhg Haran’s seventh minute goal that set the tone for the game.
A lively start put Loughrea 0-4 to 0-1 in front when Haran struck the net for Mellows, but Loughrea were then able to keep the city side scoreless for the next 14 minutes as they steadily went about rebuilding a lead.
By the 22nd minute they had established a 0-10 to 1-2 cushion with Brian Keary impressing in a deep-lying midfield role, but Mellows rallied somewhat in the closing minutes of the half as Hynes clipped over two good points to leave just four between the sides at the break.
Mellows needed to come out firing in the third quarter, but it was Loughrea who maintained their superiority with Emmet Mahony’s brace of rousing scores from the half forward line a highlight.
None of the city side's forwards was given opportunities to prosper, and by the water break Louis Mulqueen had decided to throw John Lee on at the edge of the square.
Loughrea held a six-point lead at that stage and were able to hold on in the closing 10 minutes with plenty to spare to book a last four clash against Turloughmore, where they will hope to earn a place in the county final for the first time since 2013.
Loughrea: G Loughnane; O Coyle, J Coen, C Killeen (0-2 ); C Jennings, P Hoban (0-1 ), D Shaughnessy (0-1 ); I Hanrahan, B Keary (0-1 ); E Mahony (0-2 ), M McManus (0-5 ), T Hoban; A Burns, J Mooney (0-2 ), N Keary (0-8, 5f ). Subs: S O’Brien for Burns (30m ), S Sweeney for T Hoban (36m ), C Gibbons for B Keary (41m ).
Liam Mellows: K Walsh; L O’Donovan, D Collins, S Barrett; S Morrissey, C Elwood (0-2 ), M Hughes; T Haran (1-7, 0-7f ), K Lee; A Morrissey (0-1 ), J Forde, J Hastings; C Hynes (0-3 ), A Callanan, C Kavanagh. Subs: C Reilly for O’Donovan (30m ), R Hynes for Forde (48m ), D McPeake for Callanan (48m ), J Lee for Kavanagh (48m ).
Referee: C Quinlan.