(Photo – courtesy Tommy Larkins GAA Club)

Senior Hurling Championship – Saturday, 21st April 

Tommy Larkins 2-11 St. Thomas 0-17 

Darren Kelly in Duggan Park 

This contest ended in a welter of excitement as both clubs maintained their unbeaten starts.  After Jason Flynn struck a penalty to put Tommy Larkins 1-10 to 0-12 ahead, St. Thomas hit back with four unanswered scores.  But after Eoghan Nevin’s goal restored parity, Larkins rescued this.

This was one of the weekend’s eagerly awaited ties and Tommy Larkins started with Eamonn Hayes and Flynn before Conor Cooney converted three placed balls to put St. Thomas ahead.  He added one from play and David Burke opened his account on the quarter hour.

Cooney’s fifth made it 0-6 to 0-2 before Flynn ended Tommy Larkins’ 15-minute drought.  They were playing into the strong breeze blowing from the town goal in Ballinasloe but didn’t want to let their opponents enjoy too much of a cushion.

Kevin McHugo did raise a white flag, St. Thomas responded through Bernard Burke and Cooney but two more Flynn frees left it delicately poised.  Bernard Burke increased his contribution before a long range Darragh Burke free gave St. Thomas a 0-10 to 0-6 interval lead.

The first half never really caught fire but the second was always on the verge of exploding.  Eanna Murphy was one of Tommy Larkins’ top performers through his saves but his long puck out set up Niall Kelly for their next score before Brian McCormack picked out Conor Gardiner to make it 0-10 to 0-8.

Brendan Farrell scored for St. Thomas but two Flynn placed balls left Tommy Larkins just 0-11 to 0-10 behind. But on 40 minutes, Anthony Kelly won a penalty but referee Christopher Brown overturned that decision after Kelly lashed out at Murphy afterwards and a throw in ball was the result.

Cooney put St. Thomas 0-12 to 0-10 ahead entering the final 10 minutes but Flynn’s penalty turned the tie.  Eanna Burke, Farrell, Cooney and Damien McGlynn made it 0-16 to 1-10 in St. Thomas’ favour before Nevin’s equalising goal.  David Burke and Cathal Kelly traded points before the finish.

Tommy Larkins: Eanna Murphy; Shane O’Grady, Cathal Tuohy, Owen Forde; Brian McCormack, Conor Nevin, Cathal Kelly (0-1); Colm Flynn, Eamonn Hayes (0-1); Ronan Murphy, Kevin Hooban, Kevin McHugo (0-1); Conor Gardiner (0-1), Niall Kelly (0-1), Jason Flynn (1-6, five frees, one ’65).  Subs used: Cathal O’Byrne for Hayes (HT), Tomas Gardiner for Hooban (50 mins), Eoghan Nevin (1-0) for Gardiner (60 mins).

St. Thomas: Conor Fahy; Fintan Burke, Donal Cooney, David Sherry; James Regan, Shane Cooney, Cian Mahoney; Eanna Burke (0-1), David Burke (0-2); Kenneth Burke, Conor Cooney (0-8, six frees), Brendan Farrell (0-2); Bernard Burke (0-2), Darragh Burke (0-1, free), Anthony Kelly.  Subs used: Damien McGlynn (0-1) for Kelly (44 mins), Cian Kelly for K. Burke (56 mins).

Referee: Christopher Brown