It was a two up, one down situation for Carrickshock when they reversed the result of last year’s championship final by beating double champions, Clara in Ballyhale.
The ’Shock earned their second win in the senior hurling league, but it came at a cost to club and possibly county when star attacker, Richie Power, who was playing very well, pulled up with a recurrence of a hamstring injury less than 10 minutes from the end.
The Kilkenny star was joining in a rousing Carrickshock rearguard action at the time. He was chasing down a threatening Clara player on his own ‘45’ when he pulled up with an injury like the one that forced him to sit out the first round victory over Tullaroan. More about that on back page.
A good spell between the 36th and 45th minutes which saw them out-gun the opposition by 1-5 against a single point reply, made all the difference as Carrickshock put an injury ravaged team to the sword. The losers were missing John Phelan, Liam Ryan, Jack Langton, Austin Murphy and Ciaran Prendergast through injury.
On a cold and miserable evening when the light faded fast, Clara opened backed by the wind. They scored a goal through Conor Phelan in the opening minute. That score was the main difference between the sides during the half, when parity was shared five times.
At the break two late scores from the same Phelan, against one 30th minute reply from Richie Power, left Clara leaders by 1-6 to 0-8 at the rest.
The new half opened with Richie Power shooting a huge point from a metre beyond his own 65 to level matters. Keith Hogan, after a foul on Conor Phelan, and Niall Tennyson, with an assist by Brian Donovan, swopped points before the ’Shock hit their golden, matching winning run.
John Power scored a lovely point off his left shooting into the Knocktopher end to set the ball rolling. Another huge free from Richie Power followed before Michael Rohan clipped over a minor.
Another brace from Richie Power upped the divide to 0-15 to 1-7 as Clara lost ground, although they were battling well. However, the losers faced a really determined and hard working defence that simply didn’t want to give an inch.
The pressure told in the 44th minute when a wild pull by a defender gifted Keith Hogan an easy point for Clara. Carrickshock’s sharp reply came within a minute, a goal from a well struck penalty by John Power after Richie Power had been fouled (1-15 to 1-8).
Keith Hogan tipped over a point, and Clara might have earned a penalty minutes later when Conor Phelan was obstructed heading to goal. That was one of those ‘your get it or you don’t’ situations that can vary with referees.
A point from a free by James Nolan was followed by a well taken solo goal by Chris Bolger in the 59th minute - he burrowed his way up the left wing before letting fly - to leave Clara in with a shout. They had a late, late point from a free by Nolan, which left them agonisingly short at the finish.
Stars for the winners were Richie and John Power, John Dalton, John Tennyson and Michael Rice, who is doing nicely in his bid to regain full match sharpness. Good for the losers were David Langton, Conor Phelan, Tom Ryan and Lester Ryan.
Scorers: Carrickshock - Richie Power (0-7, four frees); John Power (1-3, goal penalty); Jamie Power (0-1, free); Paddy Mulcahy, Michael Rice, Niall Tennyson, Michael Rohan (0-1 each). Clara - Conor Phelan (1-2); Keith Hogan (0-4, three frees); Chris Bolger (1-0); James Nolan (0-3, two frees); David Langton, Lester Ryan (0-1 each).
Carrickshock - Emmett Dunphy, Richard Frisby, John Dalton (capt), David Franks, John Murphy, John Tennyson, John Cahill, Michael Rice, Paddy Mulcahy, Michael Rohan, Niall Tennyson, Jamie Power, Brian Donovan, Richie Power, John Power. Subs - James Grace, Kevin Farrell.
Clara - Killian Phelan, Dermot Nolan, Sean O’Shea, Conor O’Shea, Tom Ryan, Shane Prendergast, Peter Nolan, Lester Ryan, Jack Langton, Stephen Quinlan, Keith Hogan, David Prendergast, James Nolan, Conor Phelan, Chris Bolger. Subs - John Murphy, Ben Nolan.
Referee - Richard Dowling (Kilmacow).