KILKENNY champions, Thomastown, looked strong and composed when they negotiated the first hurdle in the Leinster club junior hurling championship to book a semi-final place against Naomh Eanna in Gorey on Sunday (2pm).
The Cats will be on the road again after beating the Offaly champions in Lusmagh at the weekend by 0-17 to 0-7. The exchanges were close enough during the opening half but Thomatown put four scores together shortly after the turn to take a firm grip on proceedings.
The losers scored just one point during the second half.
The visitors enjoyed a decent start when top scorer, Michael Donnelly and Darren Burke grabbed points during the opening five minutes. Lusmagh hit back, and thanks to points by Alan Kelly and centre-back, Eoin Kelly they drew level.
The trend for the exchanges during the opening period was set. Three times in all the sides were level during this half, the last time at 0-5 each in the 25th minute.
The Noresiders finished strongly, and good scores from Jonjo Farrell plus a brace from Donnelly (one free) carried them into an interval lead of 0-8 to 0-6.
There was a bit of bite to the exchanges during the early stages of the new half, and three players were shown yellow by the referee. Thomastown got down to business quickly, and Donnelly and midfielder, Dessie Walsh tacked on good points. Donnelly then arrowed over a brace of nice points to shoot the difference up to 0-12 to 0-6 with barely 10 minutes gone.
By this time Jonjo Farrell had been given a roving commission from full-forward, and he won and delivered a lot of good ball from an out field position. Slowly Lusmagh were put to the sword.
The losers lone second half score came from a long range free by centre-back Kelly in the 47th minute. By that time they were 0-7 to 0-12 behind, and the Kilkenny champions, who were backed by a big crowd, were on their way into the semi-finals.
Scorers: Thomastown - Michael Donnelly (0-9, four frees); Jonjo Farrell (0-2); Dessie Walsh (0-2); Darren Burke, Stuart Waugh, Dylan Waugh, Adrian Burke (0-1 each). Lusmagh - Eoin Kelly (0-4); Alan Kelly (0-2); Eoin Quinlan (0-1).
Thomastown - Dylan Walsh, Sean Mahony, Shane Lanigan, Brian Murphy, Barry Whelan, Peter O’Hanrahan, Richard O’Hara, Dessie Walsh, Derek Lanigan, Dylan Waugh, Michael Donnelly, Darren Burke, Thomas O’Hanrahan, Jonjo Farrell, David Prendergast. Subs - Fergal Challoner, Edward Tennyson, James Hoyne, Adrian Burke, Stuart Waugh.
Lusmagh - G. Kelly, P. Cahill, R. Quinlan, A. Glynn, S. Gardiner, E. Kelly, B. Troy, E. Quinlan, A. Lynch, L. Ryan, D. Kelly, A. Kelly, K. Moran, D. Moran, A. Hanrahan.
Referee - D. Heffernan (Westmeath).