Burke proves hero again as last-gasp free denies Loughrea
Daithi Burke, man of the match when Galway won the All-Ireland minor title in September, was the hero for Athenry as they captured this title at Ballinasloe yesterday.
Loughrea, the reigning All-Ireland champions, never trailed in this match until the third minute of stoppage-time when Burke pointed a free from 50 yards to snatch the title.
The game finished in a flourish with two players from the same Craughwell club -- Athenry goalkeeper Colin Rooney and Loughrea full-forward Mark Horan -- getting red-carded after a skirmish involving several players.
Loughrea were leading by a point at that stage before Mark Murphy levelled in the final minute of normal time with his second point from midfield before Burke, full-back for Galway minors last year but lining out at centre-forward for his school, made no mistake with his late effort.
Loughrea led by 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval despite failing to score in the second quarter after a couple of pointed frees from Horan and good scores from play by Sean Sweeney, Gary Curley and Darragh Dolan, saw them lead by 0-6 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.
Three points from Burke and one from play by Sean McCarthy hauled Athenry back into contention and they may have hit the front earlier were it not for some fine saves by Loughrea goalkeeper Paddy Hardiman.
SCORERS -- Athenry VS: Daithi Burke 0-6 (0-5f), M Murphy 0-2, S McCarthy, K Morrissey, K Cullinane 0-1 each. Loughrea VS: M Horan 0-6 (0-6f), D Burke, G Curley, S Sweeney, D Dolan 0-1 each.
Athenry VS -- C Rooeny; J Cahill, M Monaghan, J Niland; K Morrissey, J Greaney, Damien Burke; B Keane, M Murphy; K Cullinane, Daithi Burke, S McCarthy; S Mannion, P Flaherty, C Whelan.
Loughrea VS -- P Hardiman; J Conway, S Skehill, C Kennedy; M Costelloe, P Hoban, P Kennedy; D Burke, N Haverty; G Moylan, G Curley, T Clarke; D Dolan, M Horan, S Sweeney. Sub: S Cahalan for Moylan (47).
REF -- C Brown (Ballinasloe).