Portumna sneak past Loughrea at the death

Niall Hayes of Portumna and Damien McClearn of Loughrea in action from the Galway County Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. 
Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Niall Hayes of Portumna and Damien McClearn of Loughrea in action from the Galway County Senior Hurling Championship quarter-final at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Most supporters leaving Kenny Park on Sunday afternoon will have had some degree of sympathy for Loughrea, who were rather unfortunate to lose against a lethargic Portumna outfit.

Inspired by Johnny Maher and Brian Mahony, Loughrea had played with self-belief and a high work-rate and led by three points with only a few minutes left on the clock.

However, Portumna full-forward Ronan O’Meara flicked home a goal to level the game and then Joe Canning struck a remarkable and superb free from a huge distance - near the far dugout and almost on the sideline - to ease his side in front by 2-15 to 1-17.

Johnny Maher, who had been heroic at full-forward for Enda McDonnell's side, had a last-gasp chance to level the match from a free, but he lacked Canning’s unerring accuracy and Loughrea were left to mull over yet another defeat to the Shannonsiders.

It was a cruel way for last year's beaten county finalists to lose. This group of players have had a tough innings in trying to achieve championship silverware and their efforts merited more than the one title they collected in 2006.

Now the current All-Ireland champions will now face Craughwell in the semi-final on Sunday week and they will need to improve on last Sunday’s form.

However, that is what usually happens at this stage of the championship for a side that have won five county titles since 2003.

Stephen Glennon’s Craughwell side will take confidence from an impressive 0-19 to 1-13 win over Tommy Larkins in their quarter-final with Keelan Cullinane and Ian Ryan doing well for the Craughwell men.

Elsewhere, Gort cantered into the other semi-final against either Turloughmore or Ardrahan with a solid 3-11 to 0-11 win over Killimordaly.

Gort, who were county champions in 2011, played with a two-man full-forward line and they had fine displays from Albert Mullins, Aidan Harte, Jack Grealish, free-taker Gerry Quinn who notched 1-6, and Richie Cummins who scored 2-2.

Ardrahan and Turloughmore must meet again this weekend after drawing 0-18 to 1-15 last Saturday. The sides were also level at half-time, 1-6 to 0-9.

Turloughmore had scoring performances from Cian Burke, Ronan Badger and Gary Burke who grabbed their goal and they opened up a five-points lead in the final quarter.

However Ardrahan rallied well with county players Jonathan Glynn and Iarla Tannian raising flags and they were unlucky not to have come away with a win after a contentious goal was disallowed.

The replay is fixed for next Saturday (4.30pm ) at Kenny Park.

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