Cooney goal decisive as St Thomas’ reclaim their Galway hurling crown

St Thomas’ 2-13
Liam Mellows 0-10

Daragh Small reports from Pearse Stadium, Salthill

FORMER GALWAY ALL-Ireland winner Conor Cooney scored the killer second goal and St Thomas’ returned to the summit of Galway hurling as they dethroned Liam Mellows at Pearse Stadium in Salthill.

It was just a one-year absence for the 2013 All-Ireland champions who beat Gort in the decider two years ago.

Kevin Lally’s side claimed their third Tom Callanan Cup after they took a 1-10 to 0-6 lead into the interval and built on that in the second half.

Darragh Burke blasted the first St Thomas’ goal in the 15th minute and they dominated while Adrian Morrissey provided the reprieve.

And Liam Mellows couldn’t retain the Galway SHC title for the first time since 1955, instead St Thomas’ captain Conor Cooney scored a second goal and the Peterswell Kilchreest club cruised to victory.

Conor Cooney won the toss and chose to play with the breeze in the first half. His team started with pace and precision to take a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after six minutes.

Galway captain David Burke wore No 11 on his back but began at midfield and scored a long range point to give St Thomas’ the lead for the first time in the second minute.
Eanna Burke and Darragh Burke (two) extended St Thomas’ advantage but Liam Mellows finally settled and Morrissey began the comeback.

He had scored 0-61 in the championship prior to this match and popped over three frees to reduce arrears to 0-4 to 0-3 by the 12th minute.

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Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

However St Thomas’ were lethal when they got their opportunities and they hit 1-2 without reply between the 14th and 19th minutes.

Conor Cooney scored a brilliant point after a long ball from David Burke, and when Fintan Burke sent in another big delivery Liam Mellows goalkeeper Kenneth Walsh fumbled it and Eanna Burke finished to the net.

St Thomas’ were 1-5 to 0-3 ahead at the end of the first quarter and after James Regan and Morrissey traded points Eanna Burke dispossessed Kevin Lee and scored an outstanding effort from the right sideline.

Morrissey continued to punish any St Thomas’ indiscretion but there wasn’t enough from his supporting forward unit.

And St Thomas’ reasserted their dominance towards the end of the half with three points from Darragh Burke (two) and Eanna Burke.

They held a 1-10 to 0-6 lead at half-time and it took two heroic blocks from Gerald Murray and Cathal Burke to deny Conor Kavanagh and Enda Fallon a certain goal one minute after the interval.

Kevin Lee scored Liam Mellows first point from play in the 35th minute but Darragh Burke tapped over a couple of points either side of that to extend the St Thomas’ lead.

The crucial second goal came halfway through the second half when Eanna Burke passed to Conor Cooney and he flashed his shot into the top corner of the Liam Mellows net.
St Thomas’ didn’t score again but a superb defensive display and Darragh Burke’s fantastic scores helped seal a comfortable win.

Scorers for St Thomas’: Darragh Burke 1-7 (0-2f), Conor Cooney 1-1, Eanna Burke 0-3, James Regan 0-1, David Burke 0-1.

Scorers for Liam Mellows: Adrian Morrissey 0-6 (0-6f), Kevin Lee 0-1, Conor Hynes 0-1, Tadhg Haran 0-1, Jack Forde 0-1.

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St Thomas’

1. Gerald Murray

2. Cian Mahoney
3. Cathal Burke
4. David Sherry

7. Fintan Burke
6. Shane Cooney
5. Donal Cooney

11. David Burke
8. James Regan

14. Conor Cooney
10. Darragh Burke
15. Damien McGlynn

12. Bernard Burke
13. Brendan Farrell
9. Eanna Burke

Substitutes:
17. Kenneth Burke for McGlynn (40)
18. Cian Kelly for Bernard Burke (43)
19. Mark Caulfield for Farrell (60)
21. Sean Skehill for D Cooney (60)
20. Damien Finnerty for E Burke (62).

Liam Mellows

1. Kenneth Walsh

7. Brian Leen
3. Sean Morrissey
2. Cathal Reilly

4. Mark Hughes
6. David Collins
5. Michael Conneely

8. Jack Hastings
9. Kevin Lee

13. Adrian Morrissey
11. Conor Hynes
14. Tadhg Haran

19. Enda Fallon
10. Conor Kavanagh
12. Aonghus Callanan

Substitutes:
15. Jack Forde for A Morrissey (39)
35. Ronan Elwood for Callanan (39)
25. Stephen Barrett for Fallon (43)
18. Conor Elwood for Lee (52).

Referee: Liam Gordon (Killimor).

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