St. Thomas’ 2-23 Castlegar 3-18

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Eanna Burke get ready to fire home. Photo credit: Shane Tighe

St. Thomas’ 2-23 Castlegar 3-18

Galway GAA

Brooks Senior A Hurling Championship – Group 3

Saturday, July 25th 2020 at Pearse Stadium.

Reigning County Champions and 2013 All-Ireland Club winners St.Thomas’ got the defence of their county title underway against Castlegar at Pearse Stadium at 6pm. The game looked to be going the way of the underdogs Castlegar, until a Conor Cooney goal in stoppage time snatched the win for Thomas’ who had trailed Castlegar by 2-13 to 0-10 at the break.

Castlegar started the stronger as they outscored the holders by six points to three in the opening ten minutes. Brendan Farrell came in for Darragh Burke after just 12mins, when the latter succumbed to an early knock. Farrell’s first involvement in the game was to send the ball over the bar for St.Thomas’. Veteran Ger Farragher replied straight away with a placed ball. The 2005 all-star was deadly accurate from placed balls all day. He also played a vital role in the games opening goal.

Farragher’s free from the left sideline in his own half dropped to Oisin Conolly inside the 21-yard line. He found the net with a sweet strike from the left of the goal. Connor Cooney pointed just prior to the first water break after 18mins. This left the score Castlegar 1-7 St.Thomas’ 0-5.

Two quick St.Thomas’ points after the restart again cut the arrears to three points. However, a second goal for Castlegar changed the momentum of the game. Oisin Conolly laid on a chance which Enda Concannon duly buried. Shortly after Dean Higgins tacked on another point. This was followed up by a brace from Ger Farragher. The first was long-range free from the left touchline. While the second was a tap over from open play much closer in.

A Brendan Farrell point for St.Thomas’ was responded to immediately by a Jack Coyne score at the other end. This pattern repeated itself again as a Conor Cooney pointed free was answered with Dean Higgins’ 4th point from the puck out.
Cillian Callaghan finished off a well-worked team score for Castlegar before another pointed free from Conor Cooney left the score at the break Castlegar 2-13 St.Thomas’ 0-10.

A tally of 1-08 from Conor Cooney helped St.Thomas to a narrow win over Castlegar. Photo credit: Shane Tighe.

Second Half
The champions emerged a different side after the break. St. Thomas’ went more direct with the wind now at their backs. Two Conor Cooney frees, a point from Eanna Burke, David Burke and David Sherry reduced the arrears to six points. Five points in the opening six mins of the half for St.Thomas’ saw the scoreboard now read Castlegar  2-13 St. Thomas’ 0-15.

It wasn’t all good news for St.Thomas, however, as Bernard Burke became their second player to be forced off injured. A Ger Farragher free from a tight angle broke the St.Thomas’ scoring streak. St.Thomas responded from with a point from David Burke. Another point from Oisin Flannery after a turnover cut the gap further. When Connor Cooney pointed another free for St.Thomas’ there was now only two points in it.

When Oisin Connolly fired home his second and Castlegar’s third goal the underdogs looked set to cause an upset. Photo credit: Shane Tighe

A crucial goal for Castlegar, a second from Oisin Conolly, seemed to have put them back in the driving seat. When a goal-line clearance from Castlegar’s Brian Hartnett denied Conor Cooney a certain three-pointer, it looked like it was an upset on the cards.

But St.Thomas dug deep, the resulting 65’ was sent over for Cooney’s 7th pointed free, his 8th, but first from play arrive shortly after. The 2nd water break was then called by referee Alan Kelly. At this stage Castlegar led by 3-14 to St.Thomas’ 0-20 heading into the final quarter.

Thomas cut the gap with a point from Oisin Flannery on the restart. Oisin Conolly hit a fine point in reply from under the stand for the Cashel men, to bring his personal tally to 2-3.

Jason O’Gorman stretched Castlegar’s lead with another point as the scoreline read 3-16 v 0-21 with three mins to go. However, 1-1 in the next two phases of play from Eanna Burke brought St.Thomas level with as the game ticked into the five minutes of Stoppage time added by referee Alan Kelly.

Eanna Burke gets ready to fire home. Photo credit: Shane Tighe.

Stoppage-time drama 

Damien McGlynn gave away a cheap free from where the ball landed for a late push in the back. This gave Ger Farragher an easy free by his standard which he duly pointed. Another Farragher free added a two-point cushion.
Conor Cooney’s goal in stoppage time edged the champions in front and McGlynn atoned for his earlier error with a point. Castlegar came straight down the field and were awarded a 21 yard free when Dean Higgins was taken down as he cut in from the sideline. Ger Farragher saw his effort repelled by the amassed St.Thomas’s defenders as the champions cleared their lines to the sound of the final whistle.

Full-time in Pearse Stadium: St. Thomas’ 2-23 Castlegar 3-18.

In the 2pm throw-in at Pearse Stadium in the Brooks Senior A, Group 2, Round 1 game Turloughmore defeated Liam Mellows by two points, 1-18 v 1-16.

Friday 24th: Group 1, round 1: Tommy Larkins 1-16 Loughrea 0-15.

Keep up to date on this match in our live score feeds at lovingGAA.ie

Team News

Castlegar squad 2020. With thanks to GalwayGaa.ie
Castlegar squad 2020. With thanks to GalwayGaa.ie
St. Thomas' squad 2020. With thanks to GalwayGaa.ie
St. Thomas’ squad 2020. With thanks to GalwayGaa.ie

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