In front of 8,742 spectators James Stephens recorded a 1-20 to 0-15 win over pre-match favourites Ballyhale Shamrocks, while Bennettsbridge were taken to extra time by Thomastown before they captured the minor title by 1-14 to 0-13, having saved a last minute penalty, in the replays played in Nowlan Park on Sunday.Match Report to follow. Click here for Photo Gallery from around the Park on Sunday.
Match Report from Richie Stone
An outstanding display from inter county star Eoin Larkin who scored 1-11 of his side’s total helped James Stephens on the way to their first senior hurling championship title since 2005 at a damp and dull Nowlan Park on Sunday afternoon. This replay between two highly motivated teams provided plenty of entertainment for the 8,742 spectators as the Larchfield side deservedly took the title.
Shamrocks were fast out of the blocks and had point from David Hoyne after 40 seconds. Stephens hit back with a pointed twenty metre free from Eoin Larkin following a foul on David Walton. Shamrocks then had points from T.J.Reid and Henry Shefflin (free) as they fought to impose their will on the game. However a resilient ‘Stephens defence with Tomas Keogh in particularly good fettle weren’t giving anything away easily and by the end of the first quarter the sides were locked together at 0-5 each. Shamrocks then hit three unanswered points from Conor Walsh Henry Shefflin (65’) and a great effort from Eoin Reid to go 0-8 to 0-5 clear after nineteen minutes.
T.J. Reid and Eoin Larkin (free) traded points in the 24th and 28th minutes as both sides refused to yield a centimetre. Then with half time beckoning Eoin Larkin got possession about 25 metres out, took on the defence and despite shipping some heavy knocks he fired home a goal. That goal levelled it all up but there was still time for Larkin to edge the city side ahead when he pointed a free from about sixty metres on the stroke of half time. That score put James Stephens 1-7 to 0-9 ahead at the break.
Larkin got ‘Stephens first score of the new half when he pointed a free in the 32nd minute. “Cha” Fitzpatrick kept Shamrocks in touch with a similar score from play before Matthew Ruth and Eoin Larkin added points for the city side. In between those scores’ Stephens goalie Derek Brennan produced a good save from a crowded goalmouth to keep his side in front. Both sides were reduced to fourteen men at this stage after Jackie Tyrell and Colin Fennelly received their marching orders following an altercation about 50 metres from the town goal.
By the three quarter stage the city side were still in front1-11 to 0-13. Then three points in quick succession from David M c Cormack, Matthew Ruth and Tomas Keogh stretched their lead to four points 1-15 to 0-14. Niall Tyrrell increased ‘Stephens lead with a point before a Henry Shefflin free from the 20 metre line was saved by a defender at the expense of a point. Stephens were now growing in confidence and they finished strongly with points from substitute Jack Mc Grath, Eoin Larkin and David Mc Cormack before Larkin finished off a great days work with yet another pointed free.
Scorers for James Stephens Eoin Larkin 1-11(0-8 frees) Niall Tyrrell 0-3 David M c Cormack 0-2 Matthew Ruth 0-2 Tomas Keigh 0-1 Jack M c Grath 0-1
Ballyhale Shamrocks Henry Shefflin 0-8 (4 frees 1 65’) Eoin Reid 0-2 T.J. Reid 0-2 David Hoyne 0-1Conor Walsh 0-1Clin Fennelly 0-1
Derek Brennan, Tomas Keogh, Philip Larkin, John Comerford, Eamon Sheehy, Jackie Tyrrell (Capt’n) Donnacha Cody, Niall M c Quillan, Niall Tyrrell, David M c Cormack, Ray Cody, Matthew Ruth, Eoin M c Cormack, Eoin Larkin, David Walton.
Subs Richie Hayes for Ray Cody (45 mins) Jack M c Grath for Eoin M c Cormack (47 mins)
Richie Reid, Paul Shefflin, Aidan Cummins, Ger Fennelly, Joseph Holden, Eamon Walsh, Bobby Aylward, James “Cha” Fitzpatrick, Michael Fennelly (Capt’n) Colin Fennelly, Henry Shefflin, T.J.Reid, David Hoyne, Eoin Reid, Conor Walsh.
Subs Alan Cuddihy for Paul Shefflin (Half Time) Mark Aylward for Conor Walsh (37 mins) Patrick Reid for David Hoyne (53 minutes)
Referee Eamon Mansfield (Cloneen)