MUNSTER SHC QUARTER-FINAL
Thurles Sarsfields 0-17 Ballygunner 0-16
Pa Bourke converted a 65 in the fifth minute of injury time to sneak Thurles Sarsfields over the line at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
Ballygunner recovered from four points down to level this provincial quarter-final for the fourth time before Bourke intervened at the death.
The Thurles top scorer hit seven points and midfielder Stephen Cahill grabbed four from play for the victors.
Padraic Maher was a dominant force throughout at centre-back while Ronan Maher knocked over two points.
Three long distance strikes by Cahill moved Sarsfields 0-7 to 0-4 ahead after 16 minutes as Padraic Maher operated as sweeper for the hosts and cut out Ballygunner attacks.
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A pair of Pauric Mahony frees reduced the arrears to one and Peter Hogan forced a good save from Patrick McCormack after 25 minutes before Pa Bourke and Stephen Lillis put Thurles 0-9 to 0-7 in front at halfway.
The Tipp side were awarded a penalty on the restart after a foul on Conor Lanigan by Philip Mahony, but Pa Bourke didn’t lift it properly and Stephen O’Keeffe saved comfortably. Cahill subsequently notched his fourth of the afternoon from an acute angle.
Harley Barnes and Mahony narrowed it to a point but Sarsfields quickly regained a three-point cushion with back-to-back efforts through Ronan Maher and Aidan McCormack. The Gunners retaliated again with brothers David and Brian O’Sullivan on the mark from long range.
The home side made a burst in the final quarter as wing-back Denis Maher got on the scoresheet and frontman Bourke added a brace to leave them four up with 10 minutes remaining, 0-15 to 0-11.
Ballygunner refused to throw in the towel, however, and got on equal terms through David O’Sullivan two minutes into added time, setting up a dramatic climax that saw Stephen O’Keeffe deflect Tommy Doyle’s weak effort away for a 65.
Marksman Bourke split the posts to send them into the last four.
Thurles Sarsfields: P McCormack; S Maher, M Cahill, R Dwan; D Maher (0-1), P Maher, S Lillis (0-1); R Maher (0-2), S Cahill (0-4); P Bourke (0-7, 3fs, 1 65’), A McCormack (0-1), L Corbett (0-1); C Lanigan, R Ruth, B McCarthy.
Subs: J Maher for Dwan (16), T Doyle for Ruth (31), D Kennedy for M Cahill (48), M O’Brien for Lanigan (51), C Moloney for Corbett (58).
Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; W Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, S Walsh; H Barnes (0-1), D O’Sullivan (0-3); S O’Sullivan (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-8, 8fs), C Power; T O’Sullivan, B O’Sullivan (0-1), P Hogan (0-2).
Subs: S Power for C Power (50), B O’Keeffe for T O’Sullivan (50).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick)