The TUS Dr Harty Cup final be an all-Tipperary affair for the first time ever after Midleton CBS fell short against Thurles CBS at Mallow on Saturday afternoon.
Thurles will face Cashel CS – conquerors of Limerick’s Ardscoil Rís – following a strong performance, with Midleton unable to stay with them after a close opening to the game. A six-point half-time deficit soon extended to ten and, though Midleton did pull a goal back immediately, Thurles really asserted their supremacy in the third quarter.
All but four points from Thurles’ total came from play and they had four different players each scoring at least three times. As well as that, a stout defence ensured limited supply to the Midleton attack.
The game began at a break-neck speed, with the opening nine minutes yielding three goals.
Points from Shane Irwin, Dylan McCarthy and Jack Leahy had Midleton into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead but Thurles were level thanks to Robbie Ryan and Jimmy Lahart before the procession of green flags began.
First, Joe Maher set up Lahart for a good low finish and the lead for Thurles for the first time; but immediately Midleton were level at 1-3 each as Leahy raced on to a breaking ball and got to it before the onrushing Thurles goalkeeper Eoin Horgan. Parity was fleeting though as Lahart netted again with a fine individual effort.
While Midleton didn’t reply with a goal, points from Irwin and McCarthy had them within one by the quarter-mark but unfortunately they would add just one more point in the half.
That was a good Leahy effort, set up by Tom O’Regan but it was in the midst of six Thurles points. Though Timmy Wilk did curb Lahart after being moved back on him, Ryan excelled from play and dead balls for Thurles, bringing his tally to four by the break and setting up Joe Egan for another as they retired with a 2-9 to 1-6 lead.
Within two minutes of the restart, Midleton had fallen ten points behind. Ryan got his fifth point of the day and then added a goal as Eoin O’Connell and Robbie Stapleton combined to set him up for a finish to make it 3-10 to 1-6.
Midleton did manage to do what they had done after the first Thurles goal and reply with one of their own – sub Colm Leahy bundling the ball home after Ben Walsh’s ball caused confusion in the Thurles defence – however it wasn’t the spur for a comeback.
Instead, Thurles reeled off seven consecutive points, with Joe Maher and Robbie Stapleton impressive for them while their defence made it difficult for Midleton to create any inroads.
J Lahart 2-2, R Ryan 1-5 (0-3 f), J Maher, R Stapleton 0-4 each, T Maher (f), J Egan, A Stakelum, J Doyle, D Kelly 0-1 each.
J Leahy 1-2, C Leahy 1-0, D McCarthy, S Irwin 0-2 each, J O’Brien 0-1.
E Horgan; L Doyle, E Morris, P O’Dwyer; E O’Connell, J Ryan, S Walsh; J Egan, T Maher; J Maher, D Rossiter, A Stakelum; R Ryan, J Lahart, R Stapleton.
B Flanagan for Stakelum (46), D Kelly for Rossiter (50), J Doyle for J Maher (52), D Fitzpatrick for T Maher, K Purcell for Stapleton (both 56).
P O’Sullivan (Fr O’Neills); D Leahy (Castlemartyr), A Moloney (Midleton), S O’Callaghan (Aghada); C O’Callaghan (Dungourney), D Murnane (Carrigtwohill), T Wilk (Cobh); T Roche (Midleton), D McCarthy (Killeagh); S Irwin (Erin’s Own), P Walsh (Carrigtwohill), T O’Regan (Cloyne); J Leahy (Dungourney), B Walsh (Killeagh), J O’Brien (Cloyne).
C Leahy (Killeagh) for Walsh, C Cronin (Midleton) for O’Callaghan (both half-time), C O’Leary (Fr O’Neills) for Irwin (35), M Wall (Fr O’Neills) for O’Brien (42), D Scanlon (Midleton) for McCarthy (58).
T Walsh (Waterford).