Portumna validated their credentials as Galway’s top hurling club when they claimed back-to-back titles and their fourth in six years.
Always favourites to successfully defend their crown - despite not appearing to be at their best throughout the championship - Portumna’s experience and class won out against a gallant Gort side in Pearse Stadium on Sunday.
Gort, chasing a first success since 1983, certainly put it up to the champions in the opening half. For a time an upset looked possible as Gort’s work ethic was rewarded, ensuring the sides were level at the break. However Portumna powered away in the second half, restricting their opponents to just three points, and this young Gort side, who showed plenty of endeavour, will have to wait another season in their bid to bridge what will now be a 26-years-gap since their last senior title.
Gort started brightly with the experienced Ollie Fahy bagging the first of his side’s two goals. After Paul Killilea landed a tidy point, Fahy gathered on the edge of the square, and battered the sliotar to the net.
However Portumna settled and started to dominate proceedings, and during this spell a brace of Joe Canning points and further Portumna scores from Leo Smith and Damien Hayes ensured the champions quickly levelled.
With the initiative, Portumna stretched out a four-point lead until Gerry Quinn reduced the deficit to three as half time approached. Then Gort struck again. When Ollie Fahy was fouled by Ollie Canning, Quinn unleashed a venomous free past six Portumna players to the back of net to level the scores again, ensuring his side were still well in contention at the break.
However the game got away from Gort in the second half as Portumna upped the ante, but the turning point when it came in the 36th minute was something of a gift for the champions.
An innocuous Damien Hayes shot was caught by Peter Cummins, but under pressure from Andy Smith, the sliotar eventually was bundled over the line by the Portumna forward.
That seemed to drain the life out of Gort who had no answer to the scoring prowess of Damien Hayes and Joe Canning as the Portumna attack was unleashed. In the end Portumna were worthy winners, cantering an eight-point victory and with their sights set on another tilt at the All Ireland Club Championship title.
Portumna: I Canning; M Gill, O Canning 0-1, M Dolphin; G Heagney, M Ryan, A O’Donnell; E Lynch, L Smith 0-1; N Hayes 0-2, K Hayes, A Smith 1-0; D Hayes 0-4, J Canning 0-10, C Ryan. Subs, E McEntee for Gill, P Smith for Ryan.
Gort: P Cummins; A Harte, T Linnane, A Coen; G Lally, B Regan, S Og Linnane; N Forde, S Forde; G Quinn 1-3, P Killilea 0-1, M Nestor 0-1; R Cummins 0-1, O Fahy 1-1, N Linnane. Subs, M Cummins for N Forde, M Moran for Quinn, D Linnane for N Linnane.
Referee: S Moran (Abbeyknockmoy ).