'Boro take champs scalp

Dicksboro 0-17, Ballyhale Shamrocks 1-10

John Knox

Reporter:

John Knox

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sport@kilkennypeople.ie

'Boro take champs scalp

Patrick Mullen (S) has the advantage over Ollie Walsh (8) in this tussle.

Dicksboro turned promise into something real when they opened the senior hurling league campaign by taking the scalp of champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks.
This contest in John Lockes Park on Sunday wasn’t full blooded, rugged or anything like that, but it was a lively enough affair that rolled on to the closing 10 minutes before Dicksboro got the edge on injury hit opponents who looked dangerous early on.
A fine blast of eight points against two replies during the last quarter closed the deal for Dicksboro, who were top class in defence. Here Kilkenny star, Cillian Buckley, was outstanding as sweeper all over the back line and he launched many a fruitful raid.
Buckley wasn’t alone in hitting the high spots for the winners. At the other end Dublin player, Shane Stapleton, really found his way at centre-forward during the closing half when he caused the opposition all sorts of problems, while 11 point man Andrew Gaffney, Ollie Walsh, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Evan Cody, Aidan Nolan and Conor Doheny were star men too.
The early exchanges were open and lively, with Shamrocks producing neat inter-passing play that had the opposition chasing shadows at times.
Driving The Cause
The Reids’, T.J. and Richie were really driving the cause, as was a commanding Joey Holden at centre-back.
However, their finishing let them down. They reached half-time having shot seven wides, which rose to 12 by the finish.
The losers did most of the flash early hurling, and after five minutes led by 0-3 to 0-1 thanks to scores from T.J. Reid (2) and Richie Reid, with one reply from a free by Andrew Gaffney.
On a pitch that was greasy after light rain before the start, some of the early tackling was crude, although without malice. Somewhat against the run of play Dicksboro got back level at 0-3 each after 10 minutes, although it must be pointed out they had a goal disallowed for whatever reason on the way.
They simply rolled on and produced some good hurling as they shot 0-6 to 0-3 clear by the 19th minute.
By this time Shamrocks had five wides registered, so they were far from being out-played. However, on 20 minutes they engineered a nice goal.
Joey Holden shot a ball deep into the right corner at the country end before Colin Fennelly gathered and worked his way through to score.
That goal levelled matters, but Shamrocks were lucky they didn’t concede a big score to Robbie Fitzpatrick in the 22nd minute, who was deprived by a smashing save from goalie James Connolly.
Compensation for the ’Boro came in the shape of a point from the 65 which resulted, but that was followed by a brace of pointed frees from T.J. Reid to leave Shamrocks leaders by 1-5 to 0-7 at half-way.
Scared
Shane Stapleton scared Shamrocks when he sent a whistling drive wide across the face of goal within seconds of the restart. Moments later he produced the equaliser.
Twice subsequently the scores were level, but after Thomas Kenny pounced on a loose ball before shooting the ’Boro 0-12 to 1-8 in front in the 49th minute the city side simply drove on, with Stapleton a powerful leader of the attack.
SCORERS: Dicksboro - Andrew Gaffney (0-11, eight frees, one 65); Kevin Kenny (0-2); Thomas Kenny, Shane Stapleton, Bill Sheehan, Oisin Gough (0-1 each). Ballyhale Shamrocks - T.J. Reid (0-7, five frees); Colin Fennelly (1-0); Richie Reid (0-2); David Hoyne (0-1).
Dicksboro - Darragh Holohan; Conor Fitzpatrick, Evan Cody, Evan Carroll; Conor Doheny, Cillian Buckley, Aidan Nolan; Ollie Walsh (capt), Robbie Fitzpatrick; Thomas Kenny, Shane Stapleton, Andrew Gaffney; Robbie Murphy, Martin Gaffney, Bill Sheehan. Subs - Oisin Gough, Edward Moylan, Kevin Kenny, Paul O’Flynn.
Ballyhale Shamrocks - James Connolly; Conor Phelan, Padraig Holden, Brian Butler; Bob Aylward, Joey Holden (capt), Patrick Mullen; Richie Reid, Conor Walsh; Colin Fennelly, T.J. Reid, Rónan Corcoran; Joe Cuddihy, Mark Aylward, Eoin Doyle. Subs - Dylan Aylward, David Hoyne, Evan Shefflin, Eoin Kenneally.
Referee - R. Dowling (Kilmacow).