Turloughmore won their second county Minor A title in a row when they defeated Loughrea in the County Minor final in Athenry on Sunday. A squad that has enjoyed fantastic success since U12 level eked out a seventh Minor success for the Club in splendid sunshine in Athenry.
By half time Turloughmore led by 0–9 to 1–4 after a half that saw them start brightly with them building a lead of 0–6 to 0–2 in twelve minutes. Richard Doyle scored three of those points, two of which came from play, while Conor Shaughnessy accounted for the other three points—the first and third of these scores coming from the placed ball. Loughrea’s points had come through midfielder Gearoid Loughnane and he pointed again on fifteen minutes to leave just three points in it.
Conor Shaughnessy and Sean Linnane then responded with Turloughmore scores as they led by 0–8 to 0–3. By now Loughrea were having plenty of possession but they failed to convert this into scores—they hit eight first half wides. Gearóid Loughnane’s fourth point on 21 minutes left Loughrea behind at 0–8 to 0–4.
Turloughmore’s Eoin Whelan then did well to deny Shane Moran a Loughrea goal at 29 minutes before a delivery from Conor Jennings found Martin McManus in space and his ground shot hit the net. However, Turloughmore responded and Sean Linnane shot his second point to leave Turloughmore 0–9 to 1–4 at the interval.
Nine minutes into the second half Turloughmore led by 0–12 to 1–5. Then Loughrea’s Martin McManus saw a blistering shot come back off the crossbar—had this hit the net Loughrea would have been back to within a point. However, this seemed to spur Turloughmore into action and in the final 21 minutes Turloughmore outscored their opponents by 2–5 to 1–2.
Conor Shaughnessy and Enda Keary swapped early second half scores before another Shaughnessy free coupled with a good Cillian Hurney effort had Turloughmore 0–12 to 1–5 in front on 37 minutes. Soon afterwards Marin McManus’s effort came off the crossbar, before Gearoid Loughnane pointed for Loughrea.
But from here to the end, Turloughmore upped the tempo. Between the 14th and 21st minutes of the second period they shot five unanswered points in a row through Conor Shaughnessy, Richard Doyle, Sean Linnane and Cillian Hurney (0–2)—all well taken scores—to build up a 0–17 to 1–6 lead.
Another Loughnane free kept Loughrea in touch before Turloughmore finished in style with two goals. On 54 minutes Richard Doyle’s free broke to sub Barry Callanan who finished to the net and three minutes later Sean Linnane was involved as Callinan, part of the Turloughmore U15 Team, got the final touch to goal and leave Turloughmore 2–17 to 1–7 ahead. Substitute Barry Callanan scored the two late goals for the reigning champions on a day when Loughrea were left to rue fourteen wides and a few missed goal opportunities.
Late on, Joseph Mooney goaled for Loughrea but his goal proved only a consolation effort as Turloughmore took Club’s 7th Minor title on a 2–17 to 2–7 final score line. Great credit is due to this team and panel who have enjoyed great success during their underage cycle. It was their second Minor title in a row, and their third appearance in the Minor final in three years—they were defeated by Tommie Larkins after a replay two years ago. They won the U12 County Title, the U14 County title, the U14 Féile title, the All Ireland U14 Féile title, two County U16 titles and now two County Minor titles in a row.