Loughnane's super save sinks Sarsfield's hopes

Loughrea goalkeeper Gearóid Loughnane produced the most important and dramatic save of the season so far to ensure his team progressed to the knockout stages of the Brooks Group Senior Hurling Championship at Sarsfields' expense.

Trailing by six and facing elimination on scoring difference, Sarsfields were awarded a last gasp penalty which Kevin Cooney stepped up to take. With Tommy Larkins having claimed the other qualification berth from group three due to a resounding win over Oranmore-Maree, both sides' seasons were on the line.

Loughnane’s reactions were razor sharp when it mattered most though, and the final whistle followed instantly to seal a famous 0-24 to 0-18 win.

Loughrea will need to refocus quickly for a testing preliminary quarter-final next weekend against Clarinbridge, one of four games set to be played.

Another big winner from last weekend was Craughwell, who defeated Castlegar by 1-19 to 1-18 on Saturday in Salthill to grab top spot in group one.

Brian Hanley’s men hit 1-6 without reply in the second half to turn around a game that looked to be slipping away from them, with Ger Farragher in vintage form for Castlegar.

Turloughmore’s win, despite trailing by 0-11 to 0-3 early on against Ahascragh/Fohenagh, ensured second place in that group for last year’s beaten finalists, while Killimordaly maintained their senior A status thanks to two Brian Burke frees deep into injury time that earned a 1-14 to 0-17 draw against Liam Mellows, who are now demoted.

The clash of the heavyweights in group two saw Cappataggle push St Thomas’ hard for the first 35 minutes on Sunday before the champions’ class and experience eventually told.

Trailing 12-7, St Thomas’ hit nine unanswered points as David Burke, James Regan, Darragh Burke, and Conor Cooney took charge.

Liam Collins was Cappataggle’s main threat throughout and his late goal left only the minimum between the sides, but it was too late to deny St Thomas’ the win and top spot.

In the end Cappataggle were given this weekend off anyway as they emerged as the lucky team from the draw of the second placed finishers.

In senior B group one, Gort beat Athenry by 0-23 to 2-16, which meant Padraig Pearses' 3-14 to 0-13 win over Tynagh Abbey/Duniry earned them a knockout berth, where they will face group three table toppers Kilconieron in Kenny Park on Sunday afternoon.

Kilconieron’s five-point win over Ballinderreen left the door open for Portumna to claim second spot, as they recovered from a 14-12 deficit at the three-quarter mark against Beagh and hit two late points to claim a 0-18 to 0-16 win. Their reward is a daunting clash with Gort in Loughrea on Sunday.

Clarinbridge maintained their 100 per cent record with a comfortable win over a Mullagh side preparing for relegation play-offs, and Kilndeema/Leitrim advanced in second place after their three-point win. Of the senior B runners-up, they have drawn the short straw in having to now take on Turloughmore.

 

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