Thomastown make All-Ireland final

Thomastown 3-14, Kildorrery 1-13

Thomastown 3-14, Kildorrery 1-13

DREAMS of Croke Park have become a reality for Thomastown.

The Grennan club WILL be playing at the GAA’s HQ after a stirring 60 minute performance saw them dismantle Kildorrery (Cork) in a tough All-Ireland junior hurling semi-final at wind-battered Cashel yesterday (Sunday).

Thomastown’s progression to the big show was made all the greater due to the fact they played the entire second half with 14 men.

A red card for goalkeeper Dylan Walsh, the dismissal coming 60 seconds after Andrew O’Brien’s equalising goal, seemed certain to hurt Thomastown - but a strong start to the second half put paid to Kildorrery’s hopes.

Within minutes of the restart Thomastown had bagged 1-3, a run which left the Rebels looking ragged. Three points in a row from the influential Michael Donnelly pushed them ahead again before Thomas O’Hanrahan pounced to sweep home a ground strike with 37 minutes on the clock (3-8 to 1-8).

The game was just as keenly fought in the opening half, Thomastown edging in front thanks to goals from Jonjo Farrell and Stuart Waugh, but five Peter O’Brien frees kept Kildorrery in the hunt until that late Andrew O’Brien three-pointer.

Once Thomastown stretched their lead to seven points through Donnelly (3-9 to 1-8) after 41 minutes, they never looked in real danger of being caught. In spite of the man disadvantage they shut up shop, Brian Murphy and Peter O’Hanrahan shoring up a defence that refused to let Kildorrery in.

The Corkmen did pick off a few points, but couldn’t wipe out the heavy deficit. With Donnelly and Farrell leading the way Thomastown pushed on the final whistle, and earned their place in the Croke Park final on February 10.

SCORERS: Thomastown - Michael Donnelly (0-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 65); Jonjo Farrell (1-4); Stuart Waugh, Thomas O’Hanrahan (1-0 each); Dylan Waugh (0-1). Kildorrery - Peter O’Brien (0-7, 0-6 frees); Andrew O’Brien (1-1); Dave Kelly (0-2); Will Fouhy, Jerry McCarthy, Cormac O Baoill (0-1 each).

See this week’s Kilkenny People for full match report and reaction.