Thomastown showed great grit to see off a late Tullogher surge and claim the intermediate hurling points at an overcast Inistioge on Sunday.
The Grennan men started well, taking just two minutes to race into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead. Once Thomas O’Hanrahan got the ball rolling with a point, Jonjo Farrell latched onto the resulting puck-out and raced through to blast home from 14 yards. When O’Hanrahan gained possession again on the 40, tapping the sliotar over, Thomastown looked to be on fire.
That salvo took the wind out of Tullogher’s sails but, to their credit, they gamely responded. Cian O’Donaghue (free), John Cotterell and Walter Walsh were all on target, leaving just the goal between the sides after six minutes. O’Donaghue stepped up the pace, slotting three frees before the end of the quarter, but a Dessie Walsh point meant Thomastown still had their noses in front (1-4 to 0-6).
A Stuart Waugh free made it a two-point game again, but a like score from the accurate O’Donaghue kept Tullogher breathing down the necks of their rivals. Richard Dullard (T/R) and Darren Burke (TT) traded points as the slender gap remained, but the men in black and amber were on the brink of making a charge.
Parity was restored when O’Donaghue struck his sixth free of the half for Tullogher after John Cotterell was fouled before Walter Walsh pushed his side ahead for the first time with a snappy 27th minute point. When John Barron doubled Tullogher’s newfound advantage some 60 seconds later the score came as a challenge to Thomastown. They duly responded, O’Hanrahan halving the deficit with a 21-yard point to leave the game delicately poised at half-time (0-11 to 1-7).
Much like the first half, Thomastown hit the ground running upon the restart, goaling within two minutes when O’Hanrahan netted after a scramble in the Tullogher square (2-7 to 0-11).
Pressing on, Stuart Waugh extended Thomastown’s lead with a good point, an advantage he pushed out even further when he converted a 35th minute free.
O’Donaghue narrowed the gap for Tullogher, converting a free, but two in a row from O’Hanrahan and second half sub Robert Donnelly extended Thomastown’s lead to five (2-11 to 0-12). The Grennan men looked good for that lead, but were reeled back in when Walter Walsh unleashed a great goal. Winning possession 50 yards out, Walsh cut through the Thomastown defence and picked his spot in the net.
The tension kicked up a notch, as three O’Donaghue frees dragged Tullogher level by the closing stages, the last one a morale-boosting score landed from 80 yards out. Sensing the game was falling away from his side, Waugh pointed a free to push Thomastown in front again. Dylan Waugh then doubled their lead with a well worked point from play.
O’Donaghue pointed an injury-time free, cutting the gap to the bare minimum. Walter Walsh almost turned the game his side’s way, going close to snatching a last-gasp goal, but his stoppage time effort hit the side netting.
Thomastown heaved a sigh of relief. Darren Burke’s late score ensured they would hold out to claim the points.
SCORERS: Thomastown - Thomas O’Hanrahan (1-5); Stuart Waugh (0-5, 0-4 frees); Jonjo Farrell (1-); Darren Burke (0-2); Dessie Walsh, Robert Donnelly, Dylan Waugh (0-1 each). Tullogher-Rosbercon - Cian O’Donaghue (0-11, frees), Walter Walsh (1-2), John Barron (0-2), John Cotterell (0-1).
Thomastown - Dylan Walsh, Sean Mahoney, Brian Murphy, Richard O’Hara, Peter O’Hanrahan, Derek Lanigan, Shane Lanigan, Jonjo Farrell, David Prendergast, Dylan Waugh, Stuart Waugh, Darren Burke, Thomas O’Hanrahan, Dessie Walsh, Adrian Burke. Sub: Robert Donnelly.
Tullogher-Rosbercon - Martin Roche, Anthony Cotterell, John Hartley, Terence Croke, Moling Cotterell, Pat Hartley, Donnacha O’Connor, Brendan Lawlor, Walter Walsh, John Cotterell, Richard Dullard, Conor Hennessey, John Barron, James Mullally, Cian O’Donaghue.
Referee - Paul Hunston (Barrow Rangers).