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Offaly champions finish with a flourish to prevail

OFFALY'S Kilcormac-Killoughey are through to their first Leinster hurling club final after a 2-12 to 0-14 win yesterday over Laois champions Rathdowney Erill in Tullamore.

The Offaly champions had trailed by 0-13 to 1-6 at one stage but a late scoring burst which saw them outscore their rivals 1-6 to 0-1 in the concluding quarter, including a Peter Geraghty goal, proved too much for Rathdowney Erill.

"Things weren't looking great," said Kilcormac-Killoughey manager Danny Owens afterwards. "We were making some very basic errors out the field, but our lads have been very resilient all year. They never give up. They've everything you'd want in a team."

The first-time Offaly champions advance to the Leinster final on Sunday week where they will have the task of knocking Kilkenny champions Ballyhale Shamrocks off their perch.

Richie Murray was the hero for St Thomas as he struck a hat-trick in the Galway final against Loughrea to cause a major upset in the west.

St Thomas held off a late fightback by Loughrea for a 3-11 to 2-11 win. It was their first Galway senior hurling title.

The Saints manager John Burke, whose six sons featured in a cracking final in dreadful conditions at Pearse Stadium, said the win was down to years of hard work.

"They progressed, did the work and they are able to hurl. It is a great day for the club and brilliant for the parish," he said.

"We are only a small club in between Gort and Loughrea and it is great to finally emerge now and win it."

However, some very unsavoury incidents in the game particularly late in the second half may be revisted by the Galway Hurling Board Disciplinary Committee as video evidence shows one player striking with his hurley on two occasions which should have resulted in a red card.