Galway Teachers were crowned Interfirms Senior Hurling champions at the fifth attempt when they defeated reigning champions Medtronic 5-21 to 3-20 in the final in St Brendan’s Park, Loughrea, on Saturday.
Mellows' clubman Adrian Morrissey, with a tally of 4-6, was scorer in chief for the Teachers, but this was an all-round team performance in an entertaining encounter with both sides providing an exhibition of score taking.
They were level on six occasions throughout the hour, but when Adrian Morrissey scored his and the Teachers' third goal 10 minutes into the second half, the Teachers turned the screw and were dominant in all sectors for the remainder of the match.
After Niall Healy opened the scoring for Medtronic, the Teachers hit 1-4 to open up a six-point lead inside the opening seven minutes.
Morrissey grabbed his first goal having been set up by Conor Cooney, and scores followed from Alan Dolan, Cooney and Morrissey to put the Teachers in control early on.
However, Medtronic replied with two goals in a minute - first Marc Horan palmed to the net before Niall Healy combined with Damien Joyce to set Joyce up for the second. But the Teachers replied with another Morrissey again after good work from Johnny Coen and Paul Killilea.
Points from Ronan Elwood and Niall Healy for Medtronic kept the sides level by the 12th minute, but the pendulum swung Medtronic's way when they opened up a three-point lead with the aid of two fine Damien Joyce points. Joyce nearly had a second goal but for a fine save from Teachers' custodian Eric Ward.
The Teachers regained the initiative with points from Morrissey (2 ), Paul Killilea (2 ) and an effort from James Regan to go back in front, but a brace of Niall Healy points levelled the contest again after 25 minutes. However Padraig Brehony and Morrissey put the Teachers 2-11 to 2-10 ahead at the break.
It was not long before Niall Healy converted for Medtronic, and in an open match both sides fired over delightful scores to leave the sides level again at 2-14 each after 40 minutes.
When Adrian Morrissey found the net soon after with a solo effort, the Teachers regained a lead which they were not to relinquish. In control, they were on top in many sectors. Rory Gantley and Paul Killilea added further scores with Niall Healy replying for Medtronic, and as the match entered the final quarter, substitute Sean Kilduff scored a fourth goal for the Teachers to leave seven between the sides.
Although Niall Healy kept Medtronic in touch, Adrian Morrissey fired home his side’s fifth goal, before Jarlath Mannion hit the last for Medtronic. It was not enough to stop Teachers claiming their first Interfirms county title, and they now meet the Munster champions in the All Ireland semi final.
Galway Teachers: E Warde, M Maughan, T Mannion, C Fynn, S Morrissey, D Burke(0-2 ), D Cooney, J Coen, R Gantley (0-1 ), P Brehony (0-3 ), C Cooney (0-1 ), J Regan (0-2 ), A Morrissey (4-6,2f, 65’ ), P Killilea(0-5 ), A Dolan(0-1 ). Subs: S. Kilduff (1-0 ), C Larkin, N Armstrong.
Medtronic: A Ryan, F O'Grady, D Skehill, D Kennedy, M Corcoran, S Cooney (0-2,1f ), E Clery, K Hardiman, R Elwood (0-3 ), N Calahan, D Joyce (1-2 ), M Horan (1-0 ), M Flaherty, N Healy (0-12, 9f ) J Mannion(1-0 ). Subs: I Tannian (0-1 ), A Bellow, M Farrell, M Mullin, U Hurney.
Referee: John Keane(Rahoon )