Thurles Sarsfields 2-22 Loughmore-Castleiney 3-11
Thurles Sarsfields are Tipperary senior hurling champions for a 33rd time after an eight-point victory over last year’s winners and mid-divisional rivals Loughmore-Castleiney.
The Blues claimed a fourth title in six seasons, their first since 2012, and now move to an Munster semi-final against Clare champions Cratloe at Cusack Park in Ennis next.
Captain Pa Bourke was Sarsfields’ top scorer, managing a haul of 1-03, and Aidan McCormack and Denis Maher helped themselves to 0-05 each.
There was also a big haul from substitute Ritchie Ruth, who scored 0-04 from play after he was brought on five minutes into the second half.
Stephen Cahill claimed the man of the match award from midfield and his two-point haul was matched by Lar Corbett, who also created Bourke’s second-half goal.
Bourke was an unwitting creator of the first Sarsfields goal, scored by Michael O’Brien in the 35th minute.
Former Tipp panellist Bourke’s long-range point attempt bounced off Shane Nolan’s left hand upright into the path of O’Brien, who found the net from close range.
And when Bourke collected Corbett’s handpass to score a second Sarsfields goal with four minutes of normal time remaining, the gap was 12 points, 2-22 to 2-10.
Loughmore, to their credit, kept fighting until the finish as Evan Sweeney scored a consolation goal from distance.
But Noel McGrath’s underwhelming day was summed up by a penalty miss deep in stoppage time.
McGrath failed to score from play on a day when his younger brother John managed 1-01.
Cousin Liam McGrath also scored 1-01 and Sweeney grabbed that late effort but Loughmore were outclassed by a rampant and hungry Sarsfields in front of 5,751 spectators at Semple Stadium.
And it was Sarsfields who looked like they might be out of sight before half-time after soaring into a 0-08 to 0-01 lead by the 17th minute.
Bourke and Maher were showing up well in attack and the Sarsfields half-back line, marshalled by the Maher brothers, Ronan and Pádraic, was very much on top.
But Loughmore are made of steely stuff and their challenge was re-energised by Liam McGrath’s 20th minute goal, slotted low past Patrick McCormack and into the left-hand corner of his net at the Killinan End.
That strike pared the deficit back to three points and four separated them at the break as Sarsfields led by 0-13 to 1-06.
Loughmore, who played against the breeze in the opening half, would have taken as it took them 12 minutes to register a score.
But they were blown away in the second half as Sarsfields wrestled back the Dan Breen Cup from their local rivals.
Thurles Sarsfields: P McCormack; S Maher, M Cahill, David Maher; R Maher, P Maher, M Gleeson; S Cahill (0-02), B McCarthy; Denis Maher (0-05), A McCormack (0-05), C Lanigan (0-01); M O’Brien (1-00), P Bourke (1-03, 0-01f), L Corbett (0-02)
Substitutes: R Ruth (0-04) for O’Brien (40), G O’Grady for McCormack (57), J Maher for McCarthy (59), K O’Gorman for David Maher (60), P Dunne for Gleeson (60).
Loughmore-Castleiney: S Nolan; L Egan, D Bourke, J Hennessy; A McGrath (0-01f), D Kennedy, T King; C McGrath, T McGrath (0-01); J McGrath (1-01), L Treacy (0-01), N McGrath (0-05f); L McGrath (1-01, 0-01f), E Sweeney (1-00), C Hennessy (0-01).
Substitutes: J Nyland for T McGrath (58), J Ryan for L McGrath (59), T Maher for Treacy (60+1).
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Boherlahan-Dualla).