St Thomas 0-20 Clarinbridge 0-17

St Thomas' made it four Galway SHC titles in a row with captain Conor Cooney leading the way as they ousted Clarinbridge by 0-20 to 0-17 at Pearse Stadium.

It’s St Thomas’ sixth title in ten years and maintains their record of having never lost a final.

St Thomas’ led by 0-10 to 0-09 at the break, with Clarinbridge cutting the gap to the minimum with points from Gavin Lee and Evan Niland in stoppage time before the break.

There was little between the sides throughout the opening half and they were level four times in the opening 17 minutes, with Clarinbridge edging in front each time and St Thomas' responding with the breeze behind them.

St Thomas’ hit a good patch after the first water break with Darragh Burke, Cooney and James Regan landing good points to lead by 0-07 to 0-04 after 20 minutes.

The final whistle as St Thomas' keep Clarinbridge at bay

The sides exchanged points three times with Clarinbridge getting great hope with those late points from Lee and Niland just before the break.

But St Thomas’ took over after the restart and dominated all the tight exchanges with Galway 's 2017 All-Ireland winning captain David Burke prominent in midfield.

Cooney, who has now skippered them to success four years in a row, produced a man of the match display which must have impressed new Galway manager Henry Shefflin who was watching from the stand, and five points from play in addition to half a dozen frees was a magnificent return.

Clarinbridge just could not get going up to front to match that sort of scoring and they managed just two points from play when they had the breeze behind them in the second-half.

New Galway manager Henry Shefflin surveying things in Salthill

Niland finished with nine frees and late point from play but they never looked like getting in for the goal they needed once St Thomas’ opened up a 0-15 to 0-11 lead after 42 minutes.

Clarinbridge goalkeeper Aaron Binden kept them in the game when he produced a stunning save to deny Cooney and while Niland’s accuracy from frees, including one from over 100 metres, helped get the gap down to two with eight minutes, it was as close as they got.

Cooney and Niland exchanged frees before Cooney hit three in a row, two of them from play, as the champions pushed for home and became only the third Galway side, and the first since Turloughmore won six in a row in the 1960s, to capture four in succession.

St Thomas: Gerald Kelly, Cian Mahony, Fintan Burke, David Sherry; Evan Duggan, Shane Cooney, Cathal Burke; David Burke (0-01), Bernard Burke; James Regan (0-02), Conor Cooney (0-11, 6f), Darragh Burke (0-2); Damien McGlynn, Oisin Flannery (0-02), Eanna Burke (0-02).

Subs: Victor Manso for B Burke (50), Brendan Farrell for McGlynn (50), Damien Finnerty for E Burke (60).

Clarinbridge: Aaron Binden; Oisin Salmon, Ian O’Brien, Christy Bannon; Shane Ryan, TJ Brennan (0-01), Sean Kilduff; Shane Bannon, Patrick Foley; Mikey Daly (0-01), Evan Niland (0-10, 9f), Mark Kennedy (0-02); Niall Armstrong (0-01), Cian Salmon, Gavin Lee (0-02).

Subs: Liam Leen for Armstrong (44).

Referee: Liam Gordon (Killimor).