BALLYHALE Shamrocks held off the strong challenge of Galmoy/Windgap to advance to the quarter-finals of the Roinn B hurling championship in Clara. The game was closely fought. Shamrocks sealed victory with three late points, one from Richie Reid (free) and two from strong full-forward, Patrick Mullen.
Galmoy/Windgap set the early pace with three points, one from each member of the full-forward line. Richie Reid got Shamrocks off the mark from two placed balls. Frank Phelan replied with a point before he sent in a low ball for Tom Phelan to raise his second flag.
A long free by Owen Doyle was fielded and pointed by Patrick Mullen before Reid pointed a free, 0-5 to 0-4 (S).
The exchanges continued much along the same lines, and at half-time score Shamrocks led by 1-7 to 0-9.
While Richie Reid was the standout player for the Shamrocks, he had a rival in the losers full-back Sean Foley, who was completely dominant. Such was Foley’s dominance that the Ballyhale selectors assigned senior player, Conor Walsh to full-forward.
Galmoy/Windgap made the better start to the new half. Cian Ryan played very well at midfield and converted three good frees to put his side two ahead. Ryan forced Shamrocks to rejig their lineout again, this time sending Richie Reid to midfield to curb the opposition free taker.
Conor Walsh sent in a probing ball in the 45th minute which Patrick Mullen sent to the net. This goal, bookended by two Reid frees, put the Shamrocks back in control. But Galmoy/Windgap responded in style and struck three unanaswered points per Cian Ryan, Kieran Power and Tom Phelan to level at 2-9 to 0-15.
The intensity increased noticeably and was truly indicative of championship fare. As Galmoy/Windgap began to tire, some bad frees were conceded. The Shamrocks pushed on with three points from Richie Reid. The skilful Eoghan Vaughan was introduced at top of the right for the amalgamated outfit and he immediately made his presence felt.
Sean Foley hit a huge clearance which reached Frank Phelan. Phelan hand-passed to Eoghan Vaughan who, despite being shepherded away from goal, managed to kick the sliotar to the net. With the game entering the final minutes, Galmoy/Windgap won a 65 but the shot tailed off wide.
The Shamrocks finish with two vital Mullen points to securre victory. Apart from those already mentioned, one had to be impressed with the performance of the two opposite number fives. For Shamrocks, Steven Donnelly,while not the tallest of players, was excellent and cleared an ocean of ball. For Galmoy/Windgap right half back Micheál Phelan also produced an impressive hour.
Ballyhale Shamrocks - Liam Elveridge, Eugene Aylward, Brian Butler, Sean Malone, Steven Donnelly, Owen Doyle, Patrick Malone, Conor Walsh, James Deasy, Ronan Corcoran (0-1), Richie Reid (1-10, nine points frees), Thomas O’Keeffe, Mark Phelan, Patrick Mullen (1-4), Brian Cody.
Galmoy/Windgap - Padraig Walsh, Darren Walsh, Sean Foley, Adrian Landy, Micheál Phelan, Jason Stanley, Martin Duggan, Cian Ryan (0-7, five frees), William Phelan, Frank Phelan (0-1), Kieran Power (0-1), Gary Lyons (0-1), Kieran Purcell (0-1), Michael Power (0-1), Tom Phelan (0-3). Subs - Eoghan Vaughan (1-0) for K. Purcell; James Vaughan for M. Duggan; Peter Hennessy for G. Lyons.
Referee - Ollie O’Neill (Barrow Rangers).