Thurles Sarsfields' hopes of making the knock-out stages of the Séamus Ó Riain Cup (roinn II of the county senior hurling championship) were blown out of the water at Boherlahan on Sunday by a much superior Templederry Kenyons side who maintained their unbeaten run in group one of the competition.
FBD Insurance Séamus Ó Riain Cup
Templederry Kenyons 5-16 Thurles Sarsfields 0-14
With wins over Carrick Swans and Lorrha-Dorrha behind them, Templederry were already sure of their place in the closing stages of the championship and though short five of their regular starting line-up they were never asked any serious questions by a Sarsfields outfit who had just one point from their previous two games.
In a contest that lacked real championship intensity, Templederry called the shots all the way through and while the winning margin did flatter them somewhat, they were richly-deserving winners and will take beating now that the business end of the campaign is at hand.
Though Sarsfields had the first score (a Seanie Butler free), but Templederry soon took control and a goal by Ciaran Carey in the 11th minute forced them 1-4 to 0-1 clear.
They continued to hold the whip hand and Liam McCutcheon’s goal after twenty minutes extended their advantage to 2-7 to 0-4. By half-time they were 2-10 to 0-5 ahead with three of Sarsfields' points coming from Seanie Butler frees.
Templederry lost Thomas and Brian Stapleton to injury just before the break - both were seemingly concussed after an accidental clash - but their withdrawal didn’t seem to matter.
Four minutes into the second half sub Conor Looby added their third goal and five minutes later Darragh Carey netted their fourth (4-10 to 0-8).
Damage limitation was the Blues' priority at this stage as Templederry added a further 1-5 to Sarsfields' single point before the finish - Adrian Carey netted Templederry’s fifth goal in injury time.
It’s not long since Templederry were contesting the closing stages of the Dan Breen Cup and even with a depleted side they had too much power for their rivals who won the intermediate championship last year. The Kenyons main concern after this game will be the injury to the Stapletons, but, hopefully, both will be fully fit to line out in the next round.
Darragh Carey was their key man in this win, but Gearoid Ryan also had a big game at the heart of their defence in the second half. Liam McCutcheon, Adrian Ryan, and the Stapletons were also key figures.
Sarsfields were out of their depth and are finding the task of keeping two senior teams going rather difficult. They never really threatened to cause an upset here despite the best work of Joseph Ryan, Kieran Moloney, Seanie Butler, Harry Fitzgibbon, Aidan Ryan and Pa Crone.
Templederry Kenyons: Paul Murray, Michael Ryan, Thomas Stapleton, Tadhg McLoughlin, Dale Donnelly, Brian Stapleton, Damian Dunne, Gearoid Ryan (0-2), Paudi Ryan, Matthew Hogan (0-1), Adrian Ryan (1-2), Liam McCutcheon (1-1), Eanna Murray (0-1), Ciaran Carey (0-1), Darragh Carey (2-8, 0-5 frees). Subs: Padraig Hogan and Conor Looby (1-0) for Thomas Stapleton and Brian Stapleton (29th), Padraig O'Leary for Ciaran Carey (40th), Colm Murray for E Murray (50th), Michael O'Leary for M Hogan (54th),
Thurles Sarsfields: Matt O'Brien, Harry Fitzgibbon, Aidan Ryan, James Ryan, Kieran Moloney, Jack Derby, Kieran Costelloe, Joseph Ryan, Pa Crone (0-2), Rory Purcell, Michael Russell (0-1), Kevin Dunne (0-1), Seanie Butler (0-8, 0-5 frees), Richie Ruth, Eoin Purcell (0-2). Subs: Kevin Bracken for Ruth (55th).
Referee: Michael Kennedy (Newcastle).