Munster Club SHC Final – De La Salle v Thurles Sarsfields

De La Salle take Munster hurling honours

From the web site

Sunday, November 28, 2010

De La Salle (Waterford) 0-9 Thurles Sarsfields (Tipperary) 0-8

De La Salle of Waterford claimed their second Munster senior club hurling title in three years as they held on to defeat Thurles Sarsfields at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Despite only scoring two points in the second half, the Déise club did enough to withstand late pressure, though a tally of 17 wides by the Tipperary champions did their cause no good at all. Playing in a first provincial decider, it’s possible that big-day nerves paralysed them in the first half, when just two points were scored compared to nine wides, and while they did improve after half-time, their attack never got going in the way that it had earlier in this campaign. They were not helped by the conditions, of course. While a lot of the rest of the country was struggling with snow, Cork had avoided it but it was still bitterly cold and the part of the pitch in the shadow of the covered stand was rock-hard, making flowing play very difficult.

The weather no doubt had an effect on the attendance too, with just 1,613 paying spectators, and with the bulk of that crowd being made up of Thurles fans, the atmosphere was fairly quiet in the first half. While John Mullane opened the scoring in the first minute with a free for De La Salle – one of five points he would score – Thurles were enjoying the better of the play in general, but some early poor wides provided a pointer as to what kind of day lay in store for them. Brian Phelan’s free from his own 65 doubled De La Salle’s lead and though Thurles were level by the 11th minute, thanks to a well-worked move which ended with Aidan McCormack pointing before Pa Bourke profited from a lovely Richie Ruth flick.

That would prove to be as good as it good for them, however, as it was the last time the sides were all-square, and three points in as many minutes from Mullane meant that De La Salle had breathing space by the 16th minute. Only for Padraic Maher, who was brilliant at centre-back for Sarsfields, then De La Salle could have been out of sight but as it was they led by five, 0-7 to 0-2, as half-time approached, thanks to points from John Keane and another from Mullane. Thurles’ troubles were manifesting themselves in the form of five bookings – three for fouls on De La Salle’s impressive centre-back Kevin Moran – and by half-time they had shot nine wides, needing something special if they were to turn things around after the restart.

To give them their credit, they took the game to De La Salle at the outset of the second period, and Denis Maher threatened with a goal effort in the 31st minute but his low shot was wide. Lar Corbett’s point from halfway a minute later helped to lift things for them, with the supporters beginning to find their voice and while it took a good Michael Doherty interception to deny Richie Ruth a goal chance on 35, wing-back Stephen Lillis converted the resultant 65 to cut the lead to just three points. Keane’s second point for De La Salle, after he had done well to win a Stephen Brenner puckout, edged them ahead again, but the momentum was with Sarsfields now.

A Lillis free from the middle of the field and another from McCormack, after Michael Gleeson and Corbett had linked well, made it 0-8 to 0-6, but the poor shooting was continuing to cost them, with more chances being wasted. Pa Bourke’s free after Corbett had been fouled in the midst of a good run, left just the minimum between the sides with 12 minutes left, but again De La Salle’s response was impressive, David Greene finding Eoin Madigan on the left touchline and the sub produced a brilliant shot which split the posts. Another Bourke free made it a one-point game again, but though Sarsfields pressed in search of what would have been an equaliser, they could not find it, Denis Maher’s wide in the 62nd minute proving to be their final chance before referee John Sexton, who took charge of the game a day after burying his father, called for the ball.

Thurles Sarsfields will see this as a great opportunity missed, but De La Salle’s journey goes on, with Galway champions Clarinbridge awaiting them in the All-Ireland semi-final after Christmas.

DE LA SALLE: S Brenner; D Russell, I Flynn, M Doherty; B Phelan (0-1f), K Moran, S Daniels; C Watt, D Twomey; P Nevin, D Greene, E Barrett; J Mullane (0-5 0-3f), J Keane (0-2), J Dillon.

Subs: E Madigan (0-1) for Barrett (45), D McGrath for Watt (60).

THURLES SARSFIELDS: P McCormack; D Maher, K O’Gorman, M Cahill; D Kennedy, P Maher, S Lillis (0-2, 0-1 65, 0-1f); A Kennedy, M Gleeson; A McCormack (0-2), D Maher, P Bourke (0-3, 0-2f); L Corbett (0-1), R Ruth, J Enright.

Subs: M O’Brien for Enright (42), J Corbett for Ruth (45), B O’Dwyer for Kennedy (56, injured).

Referee: J Sexton (Cork)

De La Salle (Waterford) - 2010 Munster Club SHC Champions(Photo courtesy of John O'Loughlin)

De La Salle captain Ian Flynn(Photo courtesy of George Hatchell)