The main news story from last weekend concerned the game that did not go ahead as planned, as St Thomas’ clash with Cappataggle was forced to postpone late on Saturday night due to a single positive Covid-19 case among the playing group.
Thankfully that semi-final has been refixed for this coming Sunday at 3pm in Kenny Park, with Turloughmore already assured of their place in the final, but this does mean that both the football and hurling finals will now be played on the first weekend in October.
This may cause Daithí Burke some preparational headaches if Corofin advance this weekend, but the 27-year-old will surely be fully focused on ending a county title drought stretching all the way back to 1985 as Turloughmore bid to win the Tom Callanan Cup for the ninth time.
Not for the first time this year, Burke was a key factor in Turloughmore’s latest win, where the final score was somewhat flattering to a gallant Loughrea side. Joseph Mooney’s goal with almost the last puck of the game gave a notion of competitiveness which in truth was absent for much of the second half.
Loughrea were perhaps too wary of the threat posed by Turloughmore’s sharpshooters in the opening quarter, a cagey start failed to take the game to their much-fancied opponents, and they trailed by 0-5 to 0-3 by the end of the first quarter as the contest finally started to liven up.
When Turloughmore did break loose from a packed middle third, they looked an ominous goal threat, and Barry Callanan could have netted earlier than he eventually did in the 22nd minute, taking full advantage of a powerful run by Mathew Keating.
Loughrea reacted strongly, wiping out the deficit in no time as Jamie Ryan and Neil Keary led the recovery. A fantastic Ryan point from the right sideline then put the Town in front for the first time, and he struck again shortly after before Keary drove over a free to make it 0-11 to 1-5.
Getting to the break in front would have been a fantastic achievement for Loughrea, but Turloughmore had a kick left in them before half-time, as Callanan split the posts, before Daithí Burke, almost from on his knees, played a crisp pass to his namesake Gary in oceans of space and the green flag was aloft again.
The question then was could Loughrea rise again, but it was Turloughmore who clinically built on their lead, stitching together four points on the spin by the 35th minute. Jamie Holland, Conor Walsh, and Seán Linnane all contributed at important times. While Loughrea were able to keep themselves theoretically in the contest for a time, they never at any stage looked a goal threat.
Three points to the good at the second water break, Turloughmore’s defence stood tall thereafter as Walsh added two more frees and Callanan crowned a fine display with another good point in the closing stages.
Loughrea had thrown everything at the now title favourites and come up short, but the winners of this weekend’s battle will provide the ultimate test of Turloughmore’s credentials.
Turloughmore: M Fahey; M Morris, R Burke, M Murphy; D Loftus (0-1 ), J Holland (0-2, 1f ), K Hussey; D Burke (0-1 ), F Moore; M Keating (0-1 ), C Walsh (0-8, 6fs ), S Loftus; G Burke (1-0 ), S Linnane (0-1 ), B Callanan (1-3 ). Subs: B McDonagh for Keating (50 mins ), B Connolly for Murphy (53m ).
Loughrea: G Loughnane; O Coyle, J Coen, C Killeen; D Shaughnessy, P Hoban (0-1 ), C Jennings; I Hanrahan, B Keary; E Mahoney (0-2 ), J Mooney (1-2 ), S Sweeney; N Keary 0-8, 7fs ), J Ryan (0-4 ), M McManus. Subs: C Gibbons for B Keary (51m ), T Hoban for Mahoney (52m ), A Burns for McManus (55m ), S O’Brien for N Keary (65 m ).
Referee: J Keane.