Thurles Sarsfields 1-18 Nenagh Eire Og 3-11
Thurles Sarsfields showed the grit required to win championships as they retained the Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship final with a one-point win over Nenagh Eire Og at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
Lar Corbett’s 57th-minute point proved to be the difference as despite Daire Quinn cutting the margin to the minimum going into added time, Nenagh Eire Og couldn’t find another score as they lost by one point in the final for the second time in three years.
Nenagh, chasing their first title in twenty years, started brightly with Pearse Morris opening the scoring after fourteen seconds and after Aidan McCormack hit back for Thurles, Michael Heffernan fired over from long range for Eire Og.
However, Thurles quickly took control and by the 20th minute races into a 1-10 to 0-4 lead with points from Denis Maher and a Pa Bourke free being followed by a seventh minute Conor Lanigan goal as he got on the end of a Lar Corbett delivery to beat Nenagh goalie Michael McNamara to the high ball to flick to the net.
With Corbett, Lanigan, Denis Maher and Aidan McCormack to the fore, Thurles were setting the tempo but Nenagh found their feet in the run up to half time, helped by Michael Heffernan moving to full forward.
He was instrumental in the move that led to the 22nd minute penalty in which Pearse Morris was fouled, wing back Barry Heffernan came forward and fired the penalty to the corner of the net, despite Thurles goalkeeper Paddy McCormack getting a stick to it. A Pa Bourke free ensured Thurles Sarsfields went in at the break, 1-11 to 2-6 in front.
In the descending gloom which saw the floodlights turned on, the start of the second half was an extremely cagey affair with both sets of defences on top with only one point scored in the opening thirteen minutes of the half as Conor Lanigan brought his tally to 1-2.
Thurles had their goal chances but Billy McCarthy and Aidan McCormack were both denied by Nenagh’s Michael McNamara.
Points from Pearse Morris and impressive Nenagh sub James Mackey got Nenagh on their way again before John Maher scored a relieving point for Thurles Sarsfields.
With the Nenagh half back line beginning to dominate, it game them the platform to push forward from where Mackey and Andrew Coffey were on target to bring the sides level again after 47 minutes.
Points from Pa Bourke and two from Denis Maher looked to set Thurles on their way again with ten minutes to go but Nenagh reeled them in again with Andrew Coffey availing of acres of space behind the Thurles full back line to score a 53rd minute goal.
With the game in the melting pot, Thurles always had the greater ability to get scores that little bit easier with Billy McCarthy and Tipp star Lar Corbett coming up trumps with late points with Daire Quinn’s late reposte not enough to deny Thurles Sarsfields a record 34th title.
Thurles Sarsfields: Patrick McCormack; Michael Cahill, Stephen Maher, Kevin O’Gorman; David Kennedy, Padraic Maher (Capt), Ronan Maher; Stephen Cahill (0-1), John Maher (0-1); Billy McCarthy (0-1), Denis Maher (0-4), Aidan McCormack (0-3); Conor Lanigan (1-2), Lar Corbett (0-2), Pa Bourke (0-4, 3f, 1 65).
Subs: Richie Ruth for Lanigan (45); David Maher for O’Gorman (47); Tommy Doyle for Ruth (60).
Nenagh Eire Og: Michael McNamara; Mark Flannery, Noel Maloney, John Brennan; Conor Ryan, Hugh Maloney, Barry Heffernan (1-0 pen); Daire Quinn (0-1), Michael Heffernan (1-4, 0-2f); Pearse Morris (0-2), Paddy Murphy, Andrew Coffey (1-1); Killian Gleeson, Tommy Heffernan (0-1), Shane Hennessy.
Subs: James Mackey (0-2) for Hennessy (29); Billy Heffernan for Gleeson (37); Philip Hickey for Morris (57).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Knockavilla Kickhams)