This was another high-class hurling show in Ballyhale on Saturday as Bennettsbridge, minus their county under-age starlets, prove a mite too sharp for a Ballyhale Shamrocks side that scarcely deserved to be beaten in this All County junior league clash.
Two goals between the 20th and 24th by Nicky Cleere and Dylan Walsh respectively rocked the Ballyhale Shamrocks. Cleere’s goal was a merciless shot that Garry Mason, a very competent net-minder, barely saw.
To make matters worse for the home side, Kevin Blanchfield posted a third major in the 26th minute which soaked the life blood from the faltering Shamrocks.
The usual ’Bridge scoring executioners were again conspicuous. Brian Lannon again led the forwards with great direction, encouragement and success. This guy is a smart hurler, of that there is no doubt, but more importantly, his availability to his team mates is so valuable and availed of with increasing regularity in every game played.
Again the ’Bridge diamond of Wafer, Pat O’Neill, Micheál Shiels and Blanchfield is a formation around which much of the success is fermented.
At half time they were comfortably in front by 3-9 to 0-7. The Shamrocks had toiled might and main in that half but progress against a team of the calibre of this Bennettsbridge it was always going to be frustrating, even soul destroying.
Just as the home side were getting up a head of steam, up popped Kevin Brennan to rattle home a fourth goal.
It was a sickening blow to the Shamrocks ambitions of getting into a position of possibility. It was never going to happen.
Scorers: Bennettsbridge - Nicky Cleere (1-7, five pointed frees); Kevin Blanchfield (1-2); Kevin Brennan (1-1); Willie Murphy, Brian Lannon (0-3 each); Dylan Walsh (1-0); Cormac Wafer (0-1). Ballyhale Shamrocks - Brian Cody (0-6, four frees); Patrick Reid (0-3); Donnacha Fitzpatrick, Joe Cuddihy (0-2 each); Enda Fitzpatrick (0-2, one free); Keith Nolan, James Deasy (0-1 each).
Bennettsbridge - Enda Cleere, Shane Nolan, James Moran, Richie Walsh, Cormac Wafer, Darragh Wafer, Eddie Murphy, Pat O’Neill, Micheál Shiels, Nicky Cleere, Kevin Blanchfield, Willie Murphy, Dylan Walsh, Brian Lannon, Kevin Brennan. Sub - Gareth Hickey.
Ballyhale Shamrocks - Gary Mason, Tom Coogan, Micheal Dermody, Willie Coogan, Keith Nolan, Gavin Butler, Brian Butler, Enda Fitzpatrick, Kevin Mullen, Brian Cody, Eamonn Doyle, Liam Grant, Joe Cuddihy, Patrick Reid, Donnacha Fitzpatrick. Subs - James Deasy, Patrick Doyle, Darren Mason.