Gort and St Thomas must do it again

Gort's Brian Egan and Shane Cooney of St Thomas's clash in action from the Galway senior hurling championship semi-final at Kenny Park, Athenry, on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Gort's Brian Egan and Shane Cooney of St Thomas's clash in action from the Galway senior hurling championship semi-final at Kenny Park, Athenry, on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

This Sunday in Kenny Park (1pm ) current county champions Gort will put their title on the line again when they take on St Thomas in the county semi-final replay.

The sides drew 0-9 a piece last Sunday in dreadful conditions and they will both be hoping for more favourable weather for hurling this weekend.

Gort are fortunate to get another bite of the cherry as they had to hit two late points to clinch a draw. They also hit eight wides in the second half of a game that was played in constant rain and strong wind.

Conor O' Donovan's side had to rely on a very late Aidan Harte 65 to save their season. It was three minutes into injury time when Harte took his score and he deserves immense credit for being so cool and accurate under pressure.

The returned Gerry Quinn had earlier notched seven points from dead balls, but he had been wayward with two later efforts and the switch to Harte for the crucial last effort was a good call.

St Thomas, aiming to reach their first senior final, enjoyed a great start when Richie Murray struck a tremendous point after three minutes before Conor Cooney doubled their advantage.

With the wind at their backs, St Thomas held a 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the break, with other scores coming from Cooney and David Burke. They managed to pull four clear after the restart with Cooney on target again.

However the county champions, with the elements at their back, were the better team in the second half.

Points from Paul Killilea and Quinn brought them back into it and they were in control in the last quarter. Had they been more efficient in front of goal, they would not have needed Harte to dig them out in injury time.

They can welcome back Andy Coen to the full back line this Sunday and his experience and drive will be an addition to their cause. The fact that they only hit one score from play over the hour is something they will have worked on during the week and they will look to bigger contributions in that department from the likes of Richie Cummins and Gerard O' Donoghue.

Calling a winner between these sides is extremely difficult and recent form indicates that there will be little between them at the finish this Sunday.

* The senior semi-final will be followed the intermediate hurling final between Killimordaly and Ahascragh/Fohenagh at 2.30pm.

St Thomas: P Skehill, C Burke, Robert Murray, S Skehill, E Tannion, Darragh Burke, S Burke, K Burke, David Burke, G Murray, B Burke 0-1, Richie Murray 0-2, C Cooney 0-5 (4fs ), A Kelly, J Regan 0-1. Subs: S Cooney for G Murray, E Burke for Kelly.

Gort: P Cummins; C Helebert, M McMahon, M Cummins; J Grealish, S Óg Linnane, B Regan; G Quinn 0-7 (6fs, ‘65 ), A Harte 0-1’65; K Killilea, P Killilea 0-1, G Lally; G O’Donoghue, O Fahy, R Cummins. Subs: A Mullins for K Killilea.

 

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