On Saturday in Palmerstown fans were treated to an incredibly exciting and high class minor hurling championship semi final in which Thomastown got the better of St Lachtain’s (Freshford) to grab a place in the final against neighbours, Bennettsbridge.
On a perfect surface, Thomastown, who were backed by the strong breeze, opened the scoring after 20 seconds when Thomas O’Hanrahan tipped over his first point. The losers, who were slow to settle, were back level after three minutes with a fine score from Shane Donnelly.
Thomastown took over for a while and two frees from Michael Donnelly and an Eoin Manning point put them into a four points to one lead. Freshford were finding it hard to get a foothold in the game, but county minor James Meagher produced a piece of magic when he finished a lovely point from 70 metres. He followed with a 65 to leave just one between the teams.
Thomastown then took complete control with Donnelly, Manning and Gary Lehane hammering over points to push them into a seven point lead. In the 16th minute Adrian Burke buried a great goal in the net after a pass from Thomas Hanrahan. They were ahead by 10.
Burke then shot two more points and Donnelly two frees when right on the stroke of half-time a crossfield ball from Kevin Butler found Thomas O’Hanrahan, who finished the ball past ’keeper Darren Brennan. This left Thomastown in a seemingly uncatchable position, 2-11 to 0-3 ahead.
Freshford rejigged their team during the break, bringing in Liam Hickey, Colin Corcoran and Paul White. These changes had the desired effect. Freshford started in whirlwind fashion and put three more points on the scoreboard. Michael Donnelly replied with a free for Thomastown, but two goals for Freshford in the 39th an 40th minutes from Philip Campion and a Liam Hickey (free) left the score at 2-12 to 2-6, setting up an exciting closing 20 minutes.
Thomastown had a goal disallowed for a square ball before a long range Simon Rafter effort wrangled its way into the Thomastown net. Colin Corcoran tapped over his first score and there was just four between the teams.
Shane Donnelly and Liam Hickey pointed. Two was all that separated them. Donnelly and Hickey traded points before a crushing blow was dealt by Thomas O’Hanrahan, when his overhead pull fired the ball into the back of the Freshford net. Thomastown were back in the lead by two.
O’Hanrahan pointed again before a late Philip Campion shot went straight between the posts to leave Freshford just two points short. A brilliant second half performance by Freshford saw Thomastown score just 1-3 in a tightly contested game.
Thomastown - Neil O’Mara, Cian O’Mara, Kieran Treacy, Robert O’Hanrahan, Mark Walsh, Barry Whelan, Luke Blanchfield, Michael Donnelly (0-7, six frees), Gary Lehane (0-1), Andrew Keogh, Gary Mason, Eoin Manning (0-2), Thomas O’Hanrahan (2-2), Kevin Butler, Adrian Burke (1-2).
St Lachtain’s - Darren Brennan, Caoimhan Bergin, David Allen, Shay Burke, James Meagher (0-3, two frees), Brendan Quinn, Michael Neary, Fintan White, Simon Rafter (1-0), Alex Rafter, Philip Campion (1-1), Jack Boland, Odran Waldron, Dennis Lennon (0-1), Shane Donnelly (0-4, one free). Subs - Colin Corcoran (0-1), Liam Hickey (1-2, 1-1 frees), Paul White.