Michael Fennelly receives the winner's trophy
Slick Shamrocks from Ballyhale struck swiftly and with precision early in the second half to score a goal that put them on the road to their tenth victory in the Leinster club senior hurling championship final in Portlaoise on Sunday.
The winners hit half-time leading battling St Mullins of Carlow by 0-11 to 0-7. They had an escape early in the new half when the flying James Doyle ripped through their defence, but his well struck low effort for a goal saw the ball clip the outside of the right post and go wide.
In their next raid in the 32nd minute Shamrocks scored a tap home goal through Colin Fennelly, who was put clean through on the target by TJ Reid. After the addition of quick Shamrocks points from Eoin Cody and TJ Reid (free) the losers suddenly found themselves 0-7 to 1-13 behind and facing a huge climb not only to win the match, but to get back into it.
Speed merchant James Doyle and company chased with all their might afterwards, but they never troubled the winners too seriously. Shamrocks now face Slaughneil (Derry) in the All-Ireland semi-final on January 4.
St Mullins were busy, busy from the start and there was nothing soft or easy for Shamrocks during the opening period. The scores were level three times during the opening quarter.
Shamrocks stepped up the pace a bit after that, and good scores from Reid, Brian Cody and Conor Phelan helped them into a 0-11 to 0-7 lead.
The missed chance, followed by the Shamrocks goal swung the game after that. The winners had team captain, Michael Fennelly sent off following a second yellow card offence in injury time.
The win wrapped-up a good weekend for Kilkenny clubs, with Shamrocks(senior), Tullaroan (intermediate) and Conahy Shamrocks (junior) all winning provincial club titles.
SCORERS: Shamrocks - TJ Reid (0-9, eight frees); Colin Fennelly (1-0); Brian Cody, Adrian Mullen (0-3 each); Eoin Cody (0-2); Evan Shefflin, Conor Phelan, Eoin Reid, Mark Aylward (0-1 each). St Mullins - Martin Kavanagh (0-12, eight frees, one 65); Jason O’Neill (0-2); James Doyle (0-1).
Shamrocks - Dean Mason; Darragh Corcoran, Joey Holden, Darren Mullen; Evan Shefflin, Michael Fennelly, Brian Butler; Ronan Corcoran, Conor Phelan; Adrian Mullen, Brian Cody, TJ Reid; Eoin Reid, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Cody. Subs - Joey Cuddihy for E. Reid 42nd min; Conor Walsh for C. Phelan 45th min; Gavin Butler for D. Corcoran 54th min; Mark Aylward for E. Cody 56th min; Eoin Kenneally for B. Cody 59th min.
St Mullins - Kevin Kehoe; John Doran, Paul Doyle, Garry Bennett; Christopher Kavanagh, Gerard Coady, Oisin Boland; Michael Walsh, Jack Kavanagh; Seamus Murphy, Martin Kavanagh, Paidi O’Shea; Jason O’Neill, James Doyle, Patrick Boland. Subs - Patrick Walsh for Jack Kavanagh 49th min; Philip Connors for P. Boland 54th min; John Murphy for C. Kavanagh 56th min; Oisin Ryan for G. Bennett 56th min; Paul Kehoe for J. O’Neill 59th min
Referee - Sean Stack.
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