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Brooks Group Sponsored Senior Hurling Championship Final 2022

Pictured at the Media Launch ahead of the County Senior Hurling Final are 

L to R: Tommy Kelly (Loughrea Manager), Ian Hanrahan (Loughrea Captain), Liam Brady (Brooks, Sponsor), Conor Cooney (St. Thomas' Captain), Kenneth Burke (St. Thomas' Manager)

The showpiece of the Galway Senior Club Hurling championship takes place next Sunday.

Current county champions St. Thomas' are striving for the elusive 5 in a row.

Loughrea are hoping to land the Tom Callanan cup after a 16 year wait since they last claimed the honours.

A game not to be missed!


Pearse Stadium

Sunday November 20th 2022

Time 1.30 PM

Join us Live from 12.55PM as we start our broadcast coverage on Galway GAATV

Purchase your Live Streaming here

✅We bring you Pre-Match Interviews from the Loughrea and St. Thomas' camps.
✅1:30PM: Live Coverage of the County Final with Half time and Full time Match analysis
✅Presentation of Man of the Match award and Tom Callanan Cup
✅Post Match Reaction and Interviews

Buy Match Tickets online in advance click here

 

By Cian O’Connell

“It took a bit of a twist alright,” Kenneth Burke laughs when asked whether becoming St Thomas’ manager
at a young age was by accident or design.

“Obviously Kevin Lally was very successful in his three years there,” Burke adds. “He stepped down then.
The club were looking to get someone and they weren't finding it too easy to get someone. I suppose it
was a bit of a poisoned chalice, nobody really wanted to take it because where else do you go?

“I knew there was still potential in the team, that there was nobody retiring. I just took a chance on it.
I obviously know them very well, I played with them which can be good and bad. It was a bit
of a mad decision at the time, but it has worked out so far.”

Undoubtedly demanding to maintain the high standards that have been set during the past
decade, Burke still relishes the mission.

“If it is not a challenge it isn't going to push you are make you better,” he replies. “I have great
guys around me for the last couple of years, it is about getting people around you that will support
you too. Cathal, Adrian, Tommy, and PJ, and other guys are doing massive work which helps.”

Tommy Fitzgerald’s impact as a coach perfectly illustrates how Thomas’ have been
able to identify people from other counties – such as Dinny Cahill and TJ Ryan previously – to provide relevant guidance.

“We are trying to get a guy at the start that will push us on, that will give us another edge,” Burke explains.
“Tommy has definitely done that.

 

Six Burke brothers won AIB All-Ireland Club SHC medals with St Thomas' in 2013.
Six Burke brothers won AIB All-Ireland Club SHC medals with St Thomas' in 2013.

 

“He wouldn't have known any of us at all, he'd have been looking at Galway hurling from the outside, probably knowing a bit.
He has brought a different perspective, he has a different attitude, he has pushed lads on, and has made them better.”

St Thomas’ have claimed four Galway SHC titles on the spin, and six since winning for the first time in 2012. It is a remarkable time
for the club, who came within a whisker of beating Ballyhale Shamrocks in a dramatic AIB All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final in January.

“Obviously after losing that game you're thinking it is a long road to try to get back there,” Burke says. “We just took a few weeks
off. After a couple of weeks the county lads went back playing with the county again.

“We regrouped, did a couple of sessions, we played the few league games just to get them back on the road. You have to
make your target at the start of the year. We made little targets, getting ready for the group stages, to get them up to speed and to be as fit as we can, to try to get out of the group.

“Just to go that way, to build it from there. That is all you can do and try to bring on a few younger guys, to get them to be ready for the championship.

“You have a lot of guys there with a lot of miles on the clock so it is a balancing act to keep them fit and to get enough fitness
into the younger guys to get them up to speed. It is challenging, but it is enjoyable too.”

Growing up in the Burke house hurling always dominated the conservations. Six brothers played in a team managed by father
John in the 2013 AIB All-Ireland Club SHC success. David Burke captained Galway to All-Ireland glory in 2017.

 

St Thomas' coach Tommy Fitzgerald and goalkeeper Gerald Kelly following the AIB All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final loss against Ballyhale Shamrocks in January.
St Thomas' coach Tommy Fitzgerald and goalkeeper Gerald Kelly following the AIB All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final loss against Ballyhale Shamrocks in January.

 

The passion and desire can be traced back to the early years. “It was everything, every day of the week you were
hurling with the club or the school or going off with the county,” Burke says.

“Then when the younger brothers came along they were all hurling too. There was always someone going somewhere to
play a match or there was a match to go to. Someone was being brought to a match.

“It is very enjoyable, that is what we do. We have made massive friends down through the years with it and it is
part of life. That is what we do.”

Sunday’s Galway SHC decider against Loughrea is the next tale in the Thomas’ story. Burke acknowledges that the
familiarity with Loughrea adds an extra layer of intrigue. “It definitely does,” Burke responds.

“We all know each other fairly well, a lot of the guys went to school there bar the few that went to Gort. It gives
another edge when lads know each other so well.

“They will probably be out with each other over the Christmas. Again it is just about who performs well on the day,
and whoever gets over the line. You give your best, if it doesn't get you over the line it doesn't. That is all you can do.”

It is a policy that continues to serve St Thomas’ well.

 

By Cian O’Connell

“It is all about the kids and the future of Loughrea,” manager Tommy Kelly says ahead of Sunday’s eagerly anticipated
Brooks Galway SHC Final against a decorated St Thomas’ outfit at Pearse Stadium.

The past, present, and future of Loughrea have forged a meaningful connection. “That is the way we are looking
at it, that the next generation will have a hurl in their hand again, to try to drive it on again,” he adds.

“We had a great U14 team this year, I think our senior team were looking up to them, they have shown us the way.”

Momentum has been generated by Loughrea with Kelly’s backroom sprinkled with players, who were involved when
Loughrea last won a county title 16 years ago.
“A good few of us have a medal out of '06 in the backroom staff, and we are very proud of that - there was no
guy brought into that management team just because they had a medal in their pocket,
they were brought in because they were very, very good coaches, and they are top, top class,” Kelly remarks.

Several of them have operated training teams at inter-county level. “From Shane (Cusack), Greg (Kennedy),
Gavin (Keary), and Nigel (Murray) - the hurling coaches - Alan Curley and
Mike Quinn in the backroom staff and the medics have been top class too,” he says.
“It is a unit with Kelvin our s and c coach too, it is a unit that has come together.
I'm delighted because without those guys you have nothing.”

The experienced acquired by Kelly and the coaches matters. The well regarded Kelly
has been involved with Clare and Dublin in recent years.

“It makes a big occasion nice and relaxed,” he responds. “I was lucky enough to be involved with
Dublin for three years and with Clare for two years before that and with Cuala too
winning the couple of All-Irelands with those lads. So it makes a big occasion comfortable for us.

“Gavin has great experience at inter-county level, Shane Cusack - a county minor winning coach,
Nigel Murray, a county minor winning goalkeeping coach, Greg was with Dublin,
Gavin was head coach with Clare and Dublin too.”

Nuggets of information and advice were gleaned. “100 per cent you pick up things under massive
men like Mattie Kenny, a brilliant, brilliant manager,” Kelly replies.

“Donal Maloney and Gerry O'Connor in Clare - fantastic men. You learn so much from those guys.”

 

Johnny Coen remains a key performer for Loughrea.
Johnny Coen remains a key performer for Loughrea.

 

Fortunate that so many from the club have been in an inter-county environment, Kelly recalls spending his childhood attending matches throughout the country.
For decades his father, Tommy Snr, gave distinguished service to Galway GAA in a plethora of roles.

“We were reared in a GAA house,” Kelly says. “There was never going to the beach on a Sunday, it was always going to matches.
If you weren't going to matches you were training. Straightaway after mass, 'Daddy where are we going?'

“You were loading up in the car, you could be heading to Monaghan for a National Football League game or you could be heading to Ballinasloe for a National Hurling League game.
That was our winters and summers every Sunday.”

Tommy Snr had a significant influence. “He was at nearly every level - an unbelievable man,” Kelly says. “He was let do that, to follow his dream because of my mother.
So there is a connection there too.”

Kelly acknowledges the rich contribution made to Loughrea too by his brother Brian also. “Up all along it was Brian, who probably introduced us,” Kelly says.

“He was my oldest brother, he passed away in ‘06, it was him that introduced the hurl to us. We only came to Loughrea in ‘66, within two years he was winning an U12 county final.

“He played for Galway in ‘73, he actually scored a goal and a couple of points in the 1981 intermediate hurling final to bring Loughrea up to senior.
That connection definitely runs deep. When you think back it is lovely.” Matches have been won and lost, but the memories will always linger.
So when Loughrea and St Thomas’ gather this weekend in Salthill there will be no shortage of sub plots. Thomas’ craft is respected by Loughrea.

“Our history in finals percentage wise isn't what we would like it to be,” Kelly says. “Thomas' is unbelievable, they haven't been beaten in one.

“They have six won in the last 10 years, that is three times as much as we have ever won. We only have two - 1941 and 2006.
We have to try to get those numbers a bit better - that is our aim.”

 

AIB Connacht SFC quarter-final

Moycullen 3-18 Westport 1-12

By Colm Gannon in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park

Moycullen moved their way into the semi-final of the Connacht Club Senior Football Championship with a handsome win over Mayo champions Westport in Castlebar.

Dessie Conneely was the star attraction hitting ten points over the contest, with five coming from play and five from frees while Daniel Cox got in for a vital goal just before the end of the first half and second half goals from Owen Gallagher and Aidan Claffey rounding things out on the scoreboard.

Moycullen were seven points up at the half-time break and they closed it out in the second half with the closest that Westport got to reeling them was cutting the gap back to six points.

A powerhouse display of scoring from Dessie Conneely had Moycullen with one foot firmly in the the Connacht Senior Club Football Championship by half time.

Conneely hit eight first half points, four from play and four from frees for his side to send them in leading by 1-11 to 1-4 at the turnaround after a devastating first half display.

The grace note of the half for the Galway champions was applied by Daniel Cox who rolled the ball to the back of the Westport net a minute into injury time after some good build up play involving Eoghan Gallagher and Tom Clarke.

Westport were struggling to keep tabs on Conneely from early doors and they dispatched Lee Keegan back to try and get to grips with him 13 minutes in but it did little to stem the tide, they also introduced Eoghan McLaughlin from the bench early in the first half to try and get back into the contest.

Moycullen showed their ambition inside the opening minute when Niall Walsh fired over the bar inside the opening minute, that was quickly canceled out by a Fionn McDonagh effort.

Two points in quick succession from Conneely had Moycullen two to the good - before Westport hit for the first goal of the game the game. The Westport centre back drove home from close range after a flowing move through the middle of the Moycullen defence. That score was followed up quickly afterwards by a Oisin McLaughlin point to put Westport into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead - but they weren’t to score again for 15 minutes.

In that time period Moycullen took complete control of the game with Conneely kicking four points and Eoghan Kelly also getting in on the action. Three off Conneely’s points came from play in that run, each of them better than the one that came before.

Killian Kilkelly stemmed the tide a bit for Westport with a point from a free to bring the score back to 1-3 to 0-8, but scores from Walsh and two more from Conneely had Moycullen looking pretty and when Cox rolled in their goal the game looked to be done and dusted before the break.

Owen Gallagher got things going in the second half for Moycullen with a point two minutes after the resumption. Westport tried to grind their way back into the contest but a series of wides early in the final 30 minutes saw that chance drift out of reach.

They did managed to get it back to a six point deficit at one stage following points from Kilkelly and Mark Moran, but when Paul Kelly and Conneely tapped over points to stretch the lead back out to eight the game was done.

Moycullen added two more goals before the end through Gallagher who palmed home after a fine move finished with him being found by Eoin Kelly and Aidan Claffey rounded off the goals just before the start of injury time.

There was still time for both Lee Keegan and Donal Wynne to be shown red cards, with Keegan picking up two yellows in the space of a minute and Wynne getting a straight red right at the death.

Scores for Moycullen: Dessie Conneely (0-10, 5f), Niall Walsh (0-4, 2f), Owen Gallagher (1-1),Daniel Cox (1-0), Aidan Claffey (1-0),Paul Kelly (0-2), Eoin Kelly (0-1)

Scorers for Westport: Killian Kilkelly (0-7, 5f), Brian McDermott (1-0), Oisin McLaughlin (0-2), Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Rory Brickenden (0-1), Mark Moran (0-1)

Maigh Cuilinn: Andrew Power; Conor Corcoran, Niall Mulcahy, Michael Moughan;David Wynne, Eoghan Kelly, Micheál Reilly; Paul Kelly, Tom Clarke; Ger Daveron, Niall Walsh, Sean Kelly; Daniel Cox, Dessie Conneely, Owen Gallagher. Subs: Conor Bohan for Cox (38), Aidan Claffey for Moughan (45), Mark Lydon for Clarke (57), Evan Kenny for O’Reilly (60), Cian Deane for Sean Kelly (60)

Westport: Paddy O’Malley; Luke Tunney, Rory Brickenden, Niall McManamon; Liam Shevlin, Brian McDermott, Paul Lambert; Lee Keegan, Brian O’Malley; Conal Dawson, Fionn McDonagh, Oisin McLaughlin; Kevin Keane, Mark Doran, Pat Lambert. Subs:Eoghan McLaughlin for O’Malley (16), Shane Scott for Shevlin (30), Pat Lambert for Dawson (30), Finbar McLaughlin for McManamon, (45), Ronan Geraghty for Eoghan McLaughlin (53),

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