Kilkenny champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks looked strong and composed when booking a place in the Leinster club senior hurling championship final.
In the semi-final in Parnell Park this afternoon, the Noresiders beat Dublin’s Kilmacud Crokes by 2-15 to 0-12 to book a place in the final against Kilcormac Killoughey (Offaly) on December 7. No venue has been arranged.
The winners, although playing into the fresh breeze, enjoyed a great start. Early points from Henry Shefflin and T.J. Reid were supplemented by a goal from Shefflin before Reid hit the target again to leave Kilmacud 0-1 to 1-3 down after six minutes.
The Dubs, to their credit, steadied the ship and they were reeling in the opposition when they conceded a soft goal. A free from near midfield by T.J. Reid looked to be covered by goalie Matt Collins, but somehow the ball bounced off the guardian’s chest and into the net over his shoulder.
That score helped Shamrocks into an decent interval lead of 2-9 to 0-6 against opponents who seemed a little inhibited by the visitors reputation and firepower in attack.
Kilmacud threw caution to the wind after the turn. They opened strongly and but for a smart save by Shamrocks goalie, Richie Reid, they would have grabbed a goal in their first raid.
There was consolation in the shape of a hat trick of points from Dillon Mulligan and Ryan O’Dwyer (two frees), but once T.J. Reid landed a free following a trip on Shefflin in the 37th minute (2-10 to 0-9) the Noresiders were able to keep a safe distance in front afterwards.
SCORERS: Ballyhale Shamrocks - T.J. Reid (1-8); Henry Shefflin (1-2); Colin Fennelly, Mark Aylward (0-2 each); James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick (0-1). Kilmacud Crokes - Ryan O’Dwyer (0-5); Caolan Conway, Sean McGrath, Dillon Mulligan (0-2 each); Damien Kelly (0-1).
Meanwhile, Mullinavat (intermediate) and Bennettsbridge (junior) made it a good day for Kilkenny clubs when they too registered wins in the Leinster club championships. The ’Vat took charge of the Leinster title won by their neighbours, Rower-Inistioge last season when beating Kiltale (Meath) in the decider (1-13 to 0-13), while the ’Bridge won through to the final by beating Crossbeg/Ballymurn (Wexford) by 1-19 to 0-11.