Shamrocks intend to have a blast

Newly crowned Kilkenny hurling champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks are hoping to blast their way to additional glory.

Newly crowned Kilkenny hurling champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks are hoping to blast their way to additional glory.

The Shamrocks proved during their 15th success in the Kilkenny senior final that they have extraordinary firepower.

And now they hope it can carry them to glory in the Leinster club championship in which they hit the road this Sunday in Parnell Park against highly rated Dublin champions, Kilmacud Crokes.

“We knew we needed about 1-20 in the conditions to win,” admitted Shamrocks manager, Andy Moloney after snatching the Walsh Cup from defending champions, Clara in Nowlan Park on Sunday. “That is what we got.”

The Shamrocks deliberately set the scoring returns rate high because, Mr Moloney reckoned: “We have lads who can hit 20 points in a game.”

The boss felt team captain, T.J. Reid was phenomenal. James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick was little if antyhing behind. Henry Shefflin was probably quieter than normal, but he started playing out of position.

Colin Fennelly went well and Michael Fennelly appears to be slotting in nicely in what is a new position for him at centre-back.

“We are happy,” Mr Moloney insisted. “We want to represent Kilkenny as best we can.”

The players were given the freedom to cut loose on the celebrations on Sunday night and Monday, but it was back to the grind in Shamrocks Park last night.

“Kilmacud Crokes will be deadly serious opponents,” Mr Moloney continued. “I am sure their manager, Ollie Baker was looking at the final and he will have a plan to deal with us.

“You must always remember, every team is stoppable. Every team is beatable. We are just hoping we can get over next Sunday. Maybe then we might get on a bit of a roll.

“We definitely won’t be looking beyond Sunday. The Dublin championship is really strong and their champions will be good and ready.”

Inspiring

Team management, that also includes Colm Bonnar, Tommy Phelan, Patrick O’Sullivan and John Drennan are confident the players, despite all the success the club has enjoyed - six championship wins in nine years - have the hunger to drive on.

“The players have an insatiable appetite,” Mr Moloney felt. “Some wrote them off. They didn’t like that.”

Meanwhile, rising star Conor Walsh (22) suggested after Sunday’s win that the Shamrocks dressing-room was an inspiring place to be.

“You sit there and look over one shoulder and Henry Shefflin might be there. You look over the other and it could be Michael Fennelly, T.J., Colin Fennelly or whoever. You couldn’t but be inspired.

“There are not many dressing rooms anywhere with that calibre of player in it.

It is uplifting, unbelieving. It is a joy.

“You are almost playing at a county standard competing with these guys at training,” he added.