Of the three city sides which took to the Nowlan Park pitch last Sunday for the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Semi-Finals the longest odds would have been wagered on Dicksboro to reach the county final.
It was not that the side was given no hope against neighbours James Stephens, but many felt that they still had a little catching up to do on the reigning county champions in terms of experience at this stage of the championship.
But at the end of an enjoyable game it was the Boro men who had dethroned the champions and no one in Nowlan Park had any qualms with the result.
Over the sixty plus minutes the winners was the better side with James Stephens over-relying on Eoin Larkin for most of their scores.
For much of game Larkin, almost single-handidly kept the Boro in check. He won most of the possession that came his way and his unerring accuracy from play and frees was crucial.
Whatever Dicksboro lacked in experience they certainly made up for it with a hugely committed display. That was particularly evident in the closing stages when a draw seemed the likely outcome.
The loss of Cillian Buckley and later Oisín Walsh, in the second half, could have seriously upset the Boro, but not on this occasion.
This was a huge win for Dicksboro and while they will enter the County Final as underdogs, I doubt if that will worry them.
Getting Cillian Buckley and Oisín Walsh fit for the final is their biggest concern right now.
Shamrocks had answers
The Shamrocks were more comfortable winners than the final score showed in their semi-final against O’Loughlin Gaels.
The city side was a big disappointment and except for the opening twenty minutes never looked like depriving the Ballyhale men of another county final appearance.
An outstanding defence was the foundation for this latest Shamrocks victory. All six defenders were superb and the only down side was the concession of two soft goals.
Hurler of the Year Henry Shefflin orchestrated the attack with a tour-de-force display at centre half forward. Colin Fennelly was particularly impressive over the sixty minutes.
The Gaels looked very flat and maybe their tough encounter with Carrickshock in the last round took its toll on the players.
Even without new All-Star TJ Reid the Shamrocks are hurling better now than they have been for a couple of years.
Their pace, stick-work and panache is back and it will take a super-human effort from Dicksboro to deny the Ballyhale men another county title.