Saturday afternoon decided things at both ends of the senior hurling championship. Fr. Tom’s finished top of the table and have a week off before the final, while Wexford were eliminated with four points from their six games. Tom’s were on top in all areas of the field for most of the game and built on an eight point first half lead to ensure a place in the final for the first time since 2005.
A Peter Ryan goal mid way through the first half kept the game close. Ryan got on the end of a high ball to the edge of the small square and sneaked it past an unsighted Alan Keating. The goal reduced a four point gap to one. Zane Keenan was split the uprights with impeccable free taking on four occasions, while David O’Mahoney and Ian McDonald accounted for two other scores. Wexford’s Jamie Kehoe converted two chances for his side.
Tom’s pressed on from that point of the game. O’Mahoney in midfield had a knack for being in the right place at the right time and set up Shane Howley for the leveling score. Tom’s then hit with two goals. Oisin Burke finished a fine individual effort, and Joey Fitzpatrick finished off the job after Ed Spruhan had saved his initial effort. Tom’s could afford a handful of wides before the beak to lead by double scores, 2-10 to 1-5.
A Tom’s goal to start the second half from the smooth as silk Keenan dismissed notions of a Wexford comeback. It was followed by four unanswered points, two of which were fantastic sideline cuts from under the press box, and the writing was on the wall for Wexford. Wexford put back to back scores together from Keogh and Mark Mansfield, but center back Michael O’Regan was sent off for a challenge that left Howley in some evident discomfort.
That was it as a game. Tom’s went on the finish the job in cruise mode and even had the good fortune of a fourth goal that seemed to be aimed as a point but landed in the top corner of the goal. Delight for Tom’s who have a big weekend in store in a fortnight’s time with the junior and senior teams contesting finals.
Tom’s: A. Keating, G. Joyce, P. Heneghan, D. Costello, C. Joyce-Power, S. Higgins, N. O’Brien, D. O’Mahoney, S. Howley, I. McDonnell, O. Burke, Z. Keenan, J. Fitzpatrick. Wexford: E. Spruhan, M. Ryan, H. Wallace, C. Burke, M. O’Regan, T. Moloney, J. Kehoe, D. Redmond, P. O’Farrell, P. Ryan, M. Mansfield, T. Ryan, M. Moloney.
Galway 1-18 Tipperary 1-11
Galway and Tipperary met in a preview of next Sunday’s quarter final. There was little at stake in the game except to perhaps get a feel for the opposition. There were some spectacular moments and well taken scores, but it was really more of a training match in advance of the more intense stuff to come next Sunday.
At the break it was Tipp a point to the good, seven points to six. Greg Lally at center back put some impressive scores over the bar for Galway. Paul Holden, Rory Hickey, and James Regan followed suit. For Tipperary Rory Sludds, Mark Kavanagh and Jack Kelleher pointed.
With the intensity level not quite at championship level there were some spectacular moments. One was in the form of a fabulous Clinton Hennessy save from Ger Malone who shot inside the 21. Odhran Floyd accounted for a couple of well taken points to put Galway into a one point lead. A Tom Devine goal with a cheeky finish, and that was cancelled out by a James Skehill 21 yard free that skipped off the turf and into the net. Paul Holden frees put Galway into the lead late in the half as the tribesmen took the points and officially second place in the standings.
Galway: J. Skehill, P. Dowling, C. Murphy, D. Sweetland, G. Lally, JJ Doyle, O. Floyd, J. Regan, P. Wolden, R. Hickey, G. Malone, B. McNamara, M. Lennon. Tipp: C. Hennessy, L. Varley, S. mcGarr, J. Kindregan, P. Flaherty, S. Nally, C. Dempsey, R. Sludds, K. O’Brien, P. Moriarty, M. Kavanagh, J. Kelleher, T. Devine.