Turloughmore qualified for their first semi-final since the senior hurling championship format changed, winning 0-21 to 0-14 against a below-par Craughwell side.
When the sides were level at 0-6 apiece after a frantic opening quarter, it was hard to see how Turloughmore could go on to dominate, but that they did in assured fashion as seven different players contributed points to open up a 0-17 to 0-9 lead by the 42nd minute.
That Craughwell lost veteran forward Niall Healy to injury just after half-time did not help their cause, but Healy was in obvious discomfort from a hamstring injury from early on and his influence outside of taking long-range frees was limited.
By contrast, Turloughmore were boosted by the inclusion of Daithí Burke from the start, and while he made a solid contribution at midfield, it was Turloughmore’s solidity in the full back line and wider range of scoring options that proved decisive.
Burke’s midfield partner Daniel Loftus sniped three first-half points, while Jamie Holland was also influential from centre half back, as Craughwell’s tendency to commit an extra body to defence gave the number six more time than usual on the ball.
Points by Mark Horan, Dean Callanan, and Niall Healy from play appeared to have Craughwell in good shape early on, but each time Turloughmore were able to fashion an instant response, and there were never more than a single point in arrears.
After Gary Burke levelled for the sixth time, the momentum began to shift irreversibly in Turloughmore’s favour. Conor Walsh continued his good run of free-taking, and made it 11-6 on 26 minutes, but three Healy frees before the interval gave Craughwell a glimmer of hope.
However the men in black and white turned the screw on the resumption. Early frees by Holland and Walsh put them back on the front foot, and points continued to flow through Barry McDonagh and Sean Loftus (two ).
Turloughmore stuttered somewhat, but it still took Craughwell until the final minute to halve that gap, at which point Turloughmore responded with three more points to kill off the contest. Turloughmore are stacked with talent and will pose St Thomas plenty of problems, but do they have the experience to cope with the pressure of chasing a ninth county title for club?
TURLOUGHMORE: M Fahy; M Keating, R Burke, M Morris; F Moore, J Holland (0-2, 1f ), K Hussey; D Burke, D Loftus (0-3 ); B McDonagh (0-1 ), C Walsh (0-7, 5fs ), S Loftus (0-3 ); R Doyle (0-2 ), G Burke (0-2 ), S Linnane (0-1 ). Subs: R Badger for G Burke (45 mins ), C Shaughnessy for R Doyle (54 ), V Doyle for B McDonagh (58 ), J Collins for S Loftus (61 ), D Holland for D Loftus (63 ), M Murphy for Morris (66 ).
CRAUGHWELL : D Gilligan; M Monaghan, I Daniels, A Greaney; G O’Halloran, M Horan (0-1 ), A Cullinane; P Monaghan, James Greaney; S Hynes, N Healy (0-5fs ), D Callanan (0-1 ); A Prendergast (0-2fss ), J Ryan (0-1 ), T Monaghan (0-2 ). Subs: A Clarke for P Monaghan (30 ), S Dolan (0-1 ) for N Healy (36 ), John Greaney (0-1 ) for Hynes (38 ), F Healy for Callanan (50 ).
REFEREE : M Haverty.