Bergin seals final place for Thurles
CHAMPIONS Thurles CBS survived the first-half dismissal of centre-forward Aidan McCormack to reach the final for a third successive season.
McCormack had opened the scoring for the holders against Nenagh CBS in yesterday's all-Tipperary clash but the Thurles Sarsfields player received a straight red card in the 16th minute following an off-the-ball tussle with Daire Quinn.
Nenagh, competing in the Harty semi-finals for the first time since 2000, struggled to make the extra man count and Thurles were rarely troubled as they booked a final meeting with Ard Scoil Ris in three weeks' time.
Yesterday's tie drew a bumper crowd to Pairc Shileain in Templemore, the home of the JK Brackens club, with a crowd in excess of 2,000 recorded.
Thurles led by 0-5 to 0-2 before Nenagh's top scorer Jason Forde levelled the scores in the 25th minute from a 20-metre free.
But Thurles, who finished with 14 wides, created the better chances throughout and had corner-forward Michael O'Brien in superb form.
O'Brien, who scored 1-5 in last year's All-Ireland final for Thurles, finished with nine points yesterday, including seven from placed balls.
Thurles led by 0-7 to 1-2 at half-time and comfortably kept Nenagh at arm's length during the second half.
Pat Ralph's brilliant sideline cut was the highlight of the second period before substitute John Bergin ended the game as a contest with the Thurles goal two minutes from the end of normal time.
scorers -- Thurles CBS: M O'Brien 0-9 (7f); J Bergin 1-0; P Ralph 0-2 (1 s/l); D Maher (f), A McCormack, C Treacy and T Doyle 0-1 each.
Nenagh CBS: J Forde 1-6 (1-4f, 1 '65); B Stapleton 0-2; M Tuite and D Walsh 0-1 each.
Thurles CBS -- A Stakelum; S Maher, C Carroll, J Bourke; C Barrett, D Maher, J Meagher; P Dunne, P Ralph; P Looby, A McCormack, N O'Brien; C Treacy, D Devine, M O'Brien. Subs: J Bergin for Devine (h/t), K Slattery for O'Brien (53 mins), T Doyle for Treacy (59).
Nenagh CBS -- D Reddan; J Peters, D Maher, J O'Dwyer; M O'Flaherty, D Quinn, P Gill; B Stapleton, C Canning; J Forde, K Seymour, J O'Brien; T Gallagher, E Hogan, M Tuite. Subs: P Butler for Canning (39), N Gleeson for O'Brien (49), P Shanahan for Gallagher (57), D Walsh for Maher (59), J Minogue for O'Flaherty (60+2).
Ref -- N Cosgrave (Marlfield).