Kilkenny hurling: Shamrocks did what Shamrocks do......
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS 2-21, BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S 0-11
The South Kilkenny outfit extended their lead at the top of the Roll of Honour in the Leinster club senior hurling championship when overpowering Ballyboden St Enda’s (Dublin) in the final at wind and rain lashed Netwatch Cullen Park today to claim their ninth title.
This was a right good and engaging contest during the first half, at the end of which Shamrocks led by 1-9 to 0-8.
However, afterwards they simply overran the opposition once T.J. Reid kicked off the new half action with a point from a free after 90 seconds following a foul on Brian Cody.
The early action was fast and furious as the teams simply let rip. Shamrocks were right on the button in terms of attitude and approach, matching the serious pace and work-rate of the opposition.
For a while flying Shamrocks threatened to run away with the game. They opened out at 1-2 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes, Eoin Reid, T.J. Reid and Adrian Mullen (goal) taking the scoring honours as they produced some wonderful combination play.
The Shamrocks created lots and lots of chances, but they failed to reflect their slick hurling on the scoreboard as they shot 10 wides before the break. Their defence worked out how to contain the Dublin attack, and by half time they were in control. Afterwards they dominated.
Ballyboden hung in, and twice they shared parity (1-4 to 0-7 and then 1-5 to 0-8) before late Shamrocks points from T.J. Reid (2 frees) and Eoin Reid (2) left them leaders at the break by 1-9 to 0-8.
After the turn the Shamrocks points piled up - T.J. Reid (2), Adrian Mullen, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Cody, Michael Fennelly before the door was slammed shut on Ballyboden in the 53rd minute.
That was when Adrian Mullen struck for his and Shamrocks second goal. With the score at 2-18 to 0-9 there was little left to be decided.
Shamrocks play Munster champions, Ballygunner in the All-Ireland semi-final on February 9.
The victory rounded off a fine hat-trick of Leinster titles for Kilkenny clubs. Dunnamaggin (junior) and Graigue-Ballycallan (intermediate) won their deciders on Saturday.
SCORERS: Ballyhale Shamrocks: T.J. Reid (0-9, eight frees); Adrian Mullen (2-1); Eoin Reid, Eoin Cody (0-3 each); Colin Fennelly (0-2); Evan Shefflin, Michael Fennelly, Mark Aylward (0-1 each). Ballyboden St Enda's: Paul Ryan (0-5, frees); Colm Basquel, Niall Ryan (0-2 each); Shane Durkin, Niall McMorrow (0-1 each).
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS - Dean Mason; Brian Butler, Joey Holden, Darren Mullen; Evan Shefflin, Michael Fennelly, Richie Reid; Conor Walsh, Ronan Corcoran; Adrian Mullen, T.J. Reid, Brian Cody; Eoin Reid, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Cody. Subs - Gavin Butler for C. Walsh 39th min; Mark Aylward for B. Cody 45th min; Joey Cuddihy for E. Reid 54th min; Paddy Mullen for B. Butler 57th min; Kevin Mullen for R. Corcoran 57th min.
BALLYBODEN ST ENDA'S - Gary Maguire; David O'Connor, Luke Corcoran, James Madden; Simon Lambert, David Curtin, Dean Curran; Shane Durkin, Stephen O'Connor; Conal Keaney, Conor Dooley, Niall McMorrow; Aidan Mellett, Colm Basquel, Paul Ryan. Subs - Niall Ryan for C. Dooley 31st min; Paul Doherty for Mellett 38th min; Finn McGarry for Curran 47th min; Conor McCormack for D. O'Connor 49th min; Malachy Travers for S. O'Connor 56th min.
Referee - Patrick Murphy (Carlow).
Strong second half fired Graigue-Ballycallan to the top in Leinster
GRAIGUE-BALLYCALLAN 2-17, PORTLAOISE 0-15
The winners scored a 62nd minute goal by elegant attacker, Aaron Brennan, which distorted somewhat the divide between the teams, but there was no disputing Graigue’s class.
The losers turned in a strong opening half when playing against the wind. They hit the rest trailing by 0-7 to 1-8, after being dragged and pulled all over the place by the opposition at times. But Portlaoise just refused to give ground.
That was their biggest lead for a long time until Sean Ryan and Murphy had late scores to boost their interval advantage to four.
However, after the change Graigue found a new level, chasing the opposition down at every turn and putting some beautiful link plays together.
Early points from Conor Murphy (free) and Aaron Brennan boost their spirits as they roared on into a lead of a strong lead of 1-13 to 0-8 by the 37th minute. After the impressive Sean Ryan scored a lovely point on 45 minutes the Graigue advantage was a commanding 1-15 to 0-10.
Cormac Rigney and Sean Ryan traded points after that before Aaron Brennan struck for the late goal that sealed the issue in lost time. Graigue face the Munster champions in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Graigue-Ballycallan - Conor Murphy (0-9, eight frees); Aaron Brennan (1-3); Sean Ryan (0-4); Eddie Brennan (1-1). Portlaoise - Cormac Rigney (0-6, four frees); Tommy Fitzgerald (0-3); David O’Mahony, Cathal Duggan (0-2 each); Cian Taylor, Colm Gleeson (0-1 each).
Graigue-Ballycallan - C Hoyne; D Egan, B Murphy, T Ronan; C Flynn, E Egan, K Egan; S Butler, J Roberts; B Ryan, E Brennan, C Murphy; A Brennan, S O’Dwyer, S Ryan. Subs - R Keoghan for J Roberts; W O’Connor for S O’Dwyer; V Teehan for C Murphy; T Dunphy for E Brennan.
Portlaoise - E Nealon; J Geaney, C Lynch, F Flanagan; B Mulligan, C Healy, C McEvoy; D Lynch, G Bergin; T Fitzgerald, D O’Mahony, C Rigney; K Murphy, C Taylor, C Duggan. Subs - D Feane for J Geaney; C Gleeson for K Murphy; A Bergin for G Bergin; J Phelan for D Lynch.
Referee - G McGrath (Wexford).
Dunnamaggin slow to start, but they finish big to take Leinster title
DUNNAMAGGIN 3-17, NA FIANNA 1-11
Na Fianna charged into action and early points from Barry Slevin (2), Peter Slevin, Jonathan McCloskey and Ethan Devine reflected their good hurling and left them 0-5 to 0-1 in front when playing with the wind.
At this stage powerful centre-back, Willie Phelan was the winners best player as he tried to steady the team. From one Phelan clearance Ronan Coffey won possession, and he scored a fine goal to help get the team into the groove.
When the same player added a quick point it was all level at 0-5 to 1-2 after 15 minutes. A foul on Ian Walsh opened the way for free taker, Tommy Maher to shoot the winners in front, which he did in the 17th minute.
The Cats led all the way home from there. A second Dunnamaggin goal from John Fitzpatrick on 24 minutes helped them into an interval lead of 2-6 to 0-7.
The game was decided within four minutes of the restart when Na Fianna were hit for 1-4 without repelay. Ronan Coffey opened the scoring blast with a point before he added another goal on his way to a fine tally of 2-5.
With the gap after that that surge of scores at 3-10 to 0-7 it was all over bar the shouting, and Dunna’ had earned the ticket into the All-Ireland semi-final against the yet to be decided Munster champions.
SCORERS: Dunnamaggin - R. Coffey (2-5), J. Fitzpatrick (1-3), T Maher (0-3, frees), D Fitzpatrick (0-2), E Kearney (0-1, free), M Cody, A Kearney, A Fitzpatrick (0-1 each). Na Fianna - B Slevin (1-4, goal free, two points frees, one 65), P Slevin (0-3), E Devine (0-2), J McCloskey, M Slevin (0-1 each).
Dunnamaggin - S O’Neill, M Heffernan, N Hickey, J Brett; M Cody, W Phelan, A. Fitzpatrick; D Fitzpatrick, E Kearney; T Maher, R Cody, J Fitzpatrick; R Coffey, I Walsh, A Fitzpatrick. Subs - D O’Keeffe for T Maher; L Fitzpatrick for A Fitzpatrick; A Kearney for R Cody; S Connery for E Kearney; P Kirwan for I Walsh.
Na Fianna - E Reilly; S Coffey, E Mullally, S Slevin; D Bailey, D Gleeson, N O’Sullivan; E Devine, B Slevin; J McCloskey, P Slevin, C Slattery; S Martin, M Slevin, R Byrne. Subs - K Flynn for C Slattery; S Walsh for J McCloskey; S Burke for D Gleeson; C Redmond for S Slevin; O Coffey for R Byrne.
Referee - K Brady (Louth).