Páirc na Seamróg enjoyed high drama in this junior A hurling first round tie. At the death, Shamrocks won it, landing 1-1 in added time.
On 52 minutes, Cían O’Donoghue had extended the latter’s lead, 2-10 to 0-12. Ballyhale Shamrocks looked like exiting the championship following a flat performance.
Crucially, they stuck at their task, while Tullogher did not score again. Next minute, Patrick Mullen brought a brilliant save from the leaders’ custodian Eóin Ryan. Eóin Doyle converted the resultant 65.
Into the last minute. Wing back Keith Nolan ventured upfield, popping over for 2-10 to 0-14. Into added time and that perennially dangerous lead. Mullen gained possession at centre-forward and wound forward. He was baulked but managed a groundstroke when the sliotar fell from his grasp.
The net shook. The hurried puck-out was returned. Enda Fitzpatrick fetched and augmented for 1-15 to 2-10. The long whistle shortly sounded. The vanquished could be counted unlucky, having led since James Ryan goaled in the third minute for 1-0 to 0-1. The Shamrocks rallied and it was 1-4 to 0-5 on 20 minutes, Patrick Mullen pointing after Rónan Corcoran forced a brilliant save from Eóin Ryan.
A Corcoran free, four minutes later, meant the minimum deficit. A Ted Cullinane goal and an Eóin Mullally point just before the break restored a healthy lead for Tullogher. Corcoran replied with a free, for 2-5 to 0-7, at half-time.
On resumption, Ballyhale could never get nearer than two points. And the script looked set when Cían O’Donoghue pointed for that four point gap. But this script was shredded in the closing seconds.
The winners’ defence improved after the break. Keith Nolan was prominent in this alteration, as was Willie Coogan. Eóin Doyle (second half) and Enda Fitzpatrick eventually shaded midfield exchanges. Brian Cody and Rónan Corcoran, sent good ball, simmered with menace.
Outside them Donnchadh Fitzpatrick and Liam Grant battled and battled. Patrick Mullen’s switch to centre forward ultimately bore heavy fruit. The visitors were superbly served between the posts by Eóin Ryan, the unluckiest man on the field. Tony Conway, Patrick Grennan and Donnacha O’Connor were able contributors at the back. Brendan Lawlor and Anthony Cotterell formed a busy midfield.
The attack was best served by Kevin Hennessy and the flying Cían O’Donoghue. Ted Cullinane and James Ryan worked hard as its spine.
Ballyhale Shamrocks - David Harrington, Eugene Aylward, Tom Coogan, Brian Butler, Keith Nolan (0-1), Gavin Butler, Willie Coogan, Eóin Doyle (0-5, two frees, two 65s’), Enda Fitzpatrick (0-1), Michael Carroll, Liam Grant, Donnchadh Fitzpatrick, capt (0-1), Rónan Corcoran (0-5, four frees), Brian Cody (0-1), Patrick Mullen (1-1). Subs - Eóin Knox for D. Harrington (ht), Dylan Doran for M. Carroll (56m).
Tullogher Rosbercon - Eóin Ryan, Patrick Grennan, Bob Forristal, Seán Murray, Mark O’Brien, capt, Tony Conway, Donnacha O’Connor, Anthony Cotterell, Brendan Lawlor (0-1), Billy Ryan, James Ryan (1-1), Kevin Hennessy, Cían O’Donoghue (0-7, four frees, one 65), Ted Cullinane (1-0), Eóin Mullally (0-1). Sub - David Manning for B. Ryan (41m).
Referee - Richard Dowling (Kilmacow).