Captain Robbie Jordan pictured accepting the Premier Division Shield on behalf of his delighted Thurles Town teammates at the Greyhound Stadium on Saturday.
A Christy Bourke strike in the 91st minute helped Thurles Town to land the club’s third successive North Tipperary & District League Premier Division Shield title at the Greyhound Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
North Tipperary & District League
Premier Division Shield Final
Thurles Town 3 Blackcastle Templemore Harps 2
With the North Tipperary & District League preparing to switch to a summer programme in 2019 the 2018-19 season is already up and running and we were treated to an entertaining contest Premier Division Shield final on Saturday. This was a contest that Thurles Town just about edged - Town, incidentally, are a chasing a third successive Premier Division league title this season.
In boiling hot conditions Blackcastle Templemore Harps initially took the lead, but Thurles Town re-grouped and led two-one at the break. And, following a BT Harps equaliser in the second half this contest appeared to be destined for extra-time before Christy Bourke belted home the winner in the first minute of injury time.
BT Harps played the more constructive football during the opening quarter, but it was Thurles Town who created the first goal-scoring opportunity when Michael Foley tested ‘keeper Shane Scully with a long-range effort in the 11th minute. Five minutes later Scully was called up once more and this time saved a Tommy Brophy free kick.
The Templemore lads, however, took the lead in the 22nd minute when Stefan Leahy played in Jamie Bergin and the centre-forward drilled home a smashing right-footed effort.
Thurles Town responded well to the challenge posed and conjured a smart equaliser in the 42nd minute following a sustained period of pressure - Martin Darmody picked out the enterprising run of Callum O’Connor down the right flank and O’Connor crossed into the path of Tommy Brophy who finished first time.
Two minutes later Thurles Town took the lead - this time Liam Mackey’s delivery sprung the offside trap and found Michael Brophy down the left; Christy Bourke failed to connect with Foley’s cross, but Callum O’Connor was on hand to fire home from close range.
BT Harps came agonisingly close to notching an equaliser six minutes into the second half when Stephen Quinlan volleyed Craig Byrne’s cross over the bar following a well-worked Jack Kennedy corner. Blackcastle Templemore Harps were not to be denied, however, in the 55th minute - Éanna McBride took advantage of a narrow Thurles Town defence when the clever youngster found Stephen Quinlan on the right and the second half substitute drilled his shot across goal and into the bottom left hand corner.
Soon after Christy Bourke and Éanna McBride came close to breaking the deadlock while in the 66th minute Tommy Brophy’s pin-point corner found Wallace Burke, but, unfortunately, the Thurles centre-half connected too well with his header and the ball bounced wide.
Thurles Town came agonisingly close to locating a winner in the 77th minute when Luke Jordan intercepted a sloppy BT Harps ball - Jordan played in Michael Foley, but Harps’ Johnny Coleman got back in time to deny Foley a shooting opportunity.
With BT Harps creaking a little ‘keeper Shane Scully was called on to make neat saves at his near post from Tommy Brophy and then Jamie O’Connor before Robbie Jordan had the ball in the Templemore net with just three minutes to play following a terrific through ball from Michael Foley - the Jordan strike, however, was ruled out for offside.
Thurles Town stuck to their task and in the 91st minute Luke Jordan sprung the BT Harps offside trap and Christy Bourke raced through before lashing a stinging right-footed effort past a helpless Shane Scully.
The Thurles Town squad of players and management team pictured celebrating their Premier Division Shield final victory over Blackcastle Templemore Harps at the Greyhound Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Thurles Town: Davy Coppinger, Martin Darmody, Liam Mackey, Wallace Burke, Billy Minogue, Michael Foley, Pádraig Fogarty, Robbie Jordan, Callum O’Connor, Christy Bourke, Tommy Brophy. Subs: (52nd) Luke Jordan for Callum O’Connor, (80th) Jamie O’Connor for Tommy Brophy, (94th) Peter McNamara for Christy Bourke.
Blackcastle Templemore Harps: Shane Scully, Jack Kennedy, Eoin Moloney, Lorcan Roche, Johnny Coleman, Dean McEnroe, Sam Van Dam, Éanna McBride, Jamie Bergin, Stefan Leahy, Luke Quinlan. Subs: (HT) Stephen Quinlan for Sam Van Dam, (HT) Craig Byrne for Stefan Leahy, (64th) Darragh Gleeson for Eoin Moloney, (73rd) Ben Stapleton for Luke Quinlan.
Referee: David Butler.
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