Burke-inspired St Thomas' book final place
Updated: Saturday, 16 Feb 2013 19:07
Man of the match Bernard Burke struck 0-04 as St Thomas' defeated Loughgiel Shamrocks 0-15 to 0-07 in a tense All Ireland club semi-final clash at Clones.
St Thomas' survived a few anxious moments early on and shaded a lively opening period departing 0-06 to 0-05 ahead at the interval with James Regan effective at centrefield.
Loughgiel equalised after the restart, but then St Thomas' score eight points on the spin including glorious efforts from Bernard Burke and Conor Cooney.
Despite a blistering start Loughgiel could only manage one point from play during a feisty contest that was sprinkled with quality hurling.
It was an eventful opening seven minutes as Loughgiel Shamrocks somehow spurned three glorious goal chances.
St Thomas' were fortunate to survive a string of early scares as Loughiel failed to punish the Galway outfit's hesitancy at the outset.
With Liam Watson posing a threat with his clever flicks corner forward Benny McCarry twice went close for the holders.
Then it was Watson who pulled an effort wide as St Thomas' were struggling to deal with Loughiel's direct approach.
But Thomas', with James Regan splendid at centrefield, eventually settled and by the 17th minute they were 0-5 to 0-2 in front.
Bernard Burke's bustling aggression, combined with Regan's smooth running and control were central to Thomas' approach.
There were glimpses of David Burke's ability too as the Galway star drilled over an excellent score midway through a lively first half.
Still as the interval approached a pair of Watson frees trimmed the deficit before St Thomas' substitute Eanna Burke scored a delightful point.
Eddie McCloskey, impressive for Loughgiel, responded to leave it delicately poised at the break and there was significant tension in Clones.
As the teams left the field there was a collision involving mentors of St Thomas' and Loughgiel to add further drama.
A Watson free within seconds of the restart had Loughgiel level, but then Thomas' took complete control scoring eight points in a row.
Cooney (4), Burke (3), and Richie Murray all hit critical scores for Thomas', who scorched 0-14 to 0-6 ahead.
Watson replied with a free to end a 26 minute search for a Loughiel point, but Thomas' weren't going to be denied.
A routine free was tapped over by Cooney and Thomas eked out a victory that earns them a place in next month's St Patrick's Day All Ireland club final.
C Cooney (0-06, 3fs, 165), B Burke (0-04), K Burke (0-01), J Regan (0-01), E Burke (0-01), R Murray (0-01), D Burke (0-01).
L Watson (0-06, 6fs), E McCloskey (0-01)
St Thomas': P Skehill; C Burke, S Skehill, S Burke; E Tannion, D Burke, Robert Murray; J Regan , D Burke; S Cooney, C Cooney, B Burke (0-4); K Burke, Richie Murray, A Kelly. Subs: E Burke for Tannion (23 mins), G Murray for K Burke (44 mins), D Sherry for Kelly (54 mins).
Loughgiel Shamrocks: D Quinn; P Gillan, N McGarry, M McFadden; J Campbell, M Scullion, J Campbell; B McAuley, T McCloskey; J Scullion, D Laverty (S Dobbin, 46 mins), E McCloskey; B McCarry, L Watson, S Casey. Subs: O McFadden for McAuley (41 mins), S Dobbin for Laverty (46 mins)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford).