Thurles Sarsfields 1-21;
Champions, Sarsfields, without Hurler of the Year, Lar Corbett, had a trouble-free run as they sped past Golden-Kilfeacle in round two of the county senior hurling championship at Holycross on Saturday evening.
An injury picked up in training with the county team midweek sidelined the Sarsfields captain, but he was never needed, and towards the close, with their place in the next round assured, the holders cold afford the luxury of withdrawing countymen, Padraic Maher, Pa Bourke and Michael Cahill.
Golden opted to play Aidan Fogarty as a sweeper between the two lines of defence and he filled the role very effectively, clearing a lot of ball. Full forward, Shane |Stapleton occupied a midfield berth leaving Sarsfields fullback Kevin O Gorman idle, and he, like Fogarty, enjoyed a very productive evening.
Even against the breeze in the first half, Sarsfields were in control and with Ritchie Ruth very sharp in attack, and Michael Gleeson’s return strengthening midfield, they moved into an interval lead of 0-9 to 0-4. Five Sarsfields’ players were on the score sheet, midfielder Gleeson supplying two of the points, while Shane Stapleton’s 16th minute point was Golden’s only score from play, Pat Ivers(2) and Michael Harding frees accounting for the remainder.
Any hopes Golden had of a causing an upset quickly evaporated as Richie Ruth(3) and Michael Gleeeson pointed for Sarsfields without reply from Golden inside seven minutes of resuming. To their credit, Golden battled sportingly all the way, but when Richie Ruth pounced for an 48th minute goal created by a combination of the Kennedy brothers, Alan and David, it was game over.
Thirteen points clear (1-16 to 0-6), Sars went into exhibition mode to finish seventeen points to the good, with their county championship campaign right back on track.
After a rather sluggish start to the year, Sarsfields will be very pleased to be back in a winning vein, and this victory, following that over Knockavilla Kickhams a week previously, sets them up nicely for the remainder of the competition, which may be temporarily sidelined for some time depending on Tipperary’s progress in the All-Ireland.
The Thurles side’s craft on the ball, and the speed of their movement was very much in evidence as they stretched their opponents with clever inter-play. Michael Gleeson and Richie Ruth produced top-class performances but “Redser” O Grady, Stephen Lillis, Pa Bourke, Padraic Maher and Barry O Dwyer were also on top of their game. Sarsfields still look the team to beat and the expectation is that they will get better as the championship progresses.
Golden-Kilfeacle, despite the margin of the defeat, gave a good account of themselves. Tight on numbers for this game, they “gave it a lash” and none of their side could be faulted for effort. They tried at all times to play open hurling and have a lot of good players in their side auguring well for the future of the club. Aidan Fogarty, Shane Stapleton, James Hayes, Gerard Fogarty, and team captain Patrick Ivers, all did well as the curtain came down on their championship year.
Sarsfields- Patrick McCormack; Barry O Dwyer, Kevin O Gorman, Michael Cahill; Stepthen Lillis(0-2), Padraic Paher, Tom King; John Maher, Michael Gleeson (0-3); Ger O Grady (0-3), Pa Bourke (0-7), Denis Maher; Richie Ruth (1-4). David Kennedy (0-1), Johnny Enright(0-1); Subs- Alan Kennedy for J Maher; Aidan McCormack for Enright; Pa Dunne for P Maher; David Maher for Cahill; J Lawlor for Bourke;
Golden-Kilfeacle – Declan Donnelly; Damian Fogarty, Donncha Carr, Aidan O Connell; Gerard Fogarty, James Hayes, James Tierney; Daithi Bargary, Aidan Fogarty; Patrick Ivers(0-3), Michael Harding (0-3), Jim Bob McCarthy; Sean Ryan SShiner), Shane Stapleton(0-1), Christopher Ryan;
Ref – Kieran Delaney