Tullaroan toppled by Bally’ blitz

T.J. Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks) looks up as James Dowling (St. Martin's) closes in during the SHL encounter in Bennettsbridge.  (Photo: Eoin Hennessy)
In the final analysis, the result stands unquestioned, nor could it be as the regal Shamrocks tore a gallant Tullaroan to shreds.

In the final analysis, the result stands unquestioned, nor could it be as the regal Shamrocks tore a gallant Tullaroan to shreds.

In truth, very few teams in the county could have kept pace with the Shamrocks machine when it hit the Mach Two level of performance on Saturday.

The speed of interaction at John Locke Park was mesmeric. Their cumulative instinct was awesome, while their speed of interchange would rival the best a top-line illusionist could provide.

Such attributes were posted very early in the game when a Tullaroan attack foundered on the Shamrocks full-back line. In a flash, the ball sped from Tom Coogan to Joey Holden and then onto Michael Fennelly.

Espying his brother Colin, Michael landed a sweet transfer to him out on his left side. Taking a couple of steps, he eluded the best efforts of Steven Maher and switched the ball to T.J. Reid.

Showing blistering pace, Reid unleashed a sparkler towards Richie Butler in the Tullaroan goal. Somehow fullback, David Dowling got in the line of fire. The sliotar rebounded off Dowling, but it was doubled back behind Butler for the first of the Shamrocks goals by the inrushing Eoin Reid.

That goal floored Tullaroan. From being 0-3 to 0-1 up and moving nicely, suddenly they were now adrift. Tullaroan were not to see their names leading for the rest of the contest.

Tommy Walsh, his two brothers, Padraig and Martin, and Mark Walsh never flinched from their determined ambitions, but every time they got a score Henry Shefflin, T.J. Reid, Eoin Reid or Brian Cody nullified it with a Shamrocks score.

By the 24th minute, Tullaroan had hurled exceptionally well, as they trailed their more illustrious opponents by a single point. Admittedly they were aided by a strongish breeze, but they were still taking the battle at every chance. But, just when it seemed that they might reach the break in close contention T.J. Reid - who else? - clattered a mind-blowing goal. Colin Fennelly, Eoin Reid and Bob Aylward added points in the final stretch before the break. By then the Shamrocks led by 2-9 to 0-8.

Tullaroan brought on Shane Cuddihy after the break. He grabbed a goal inside the first six minutes.

Was this the big fight-back? No - it was a false dawn.

Tullaroan emptied the tank during a second half. Tommy Walsh did his best, as did the rest of the Tullaroan warriors, but it was never going to be enough to trouble the Ballyhale hurling blue bloods. In this mood, they are a class apart. Henry Shefflin is still top dog, but he now has accomplished generals all round him, like Michael and Colin Fennelly, T.J. Reid and a revitalised Joey Holden.

The lack of pace was a glowing difference between the sides. The disparity in skill too was glaringly for the Tullaroan lads, but still the likes of Shane Hennessy, the Coogans, Stevie Maher, Paddy Campion, and Richie Butler never threw in the towel.

It would not be the Tullaroan way.

SCORERS: Ballyhale Shamrocks - Henry Shefflin (0-9, five frees); Eoin Reid (1-3); T.J. Reid (1-1); Colin Fennelly (0-4); Michael Fennelly, Brian Cody (0-1 each); Bob Aylward (0-1, free). Tullaroan - Tommy Walsh (0-5); Shane Cuddihy (1-0); Jimmy Coogan (0-2, frees); Mark Walsh, Padraig Walsh, Martin Walsh (0-1 each).

Ballyhale Shamrocks - Richie Reid, Michael Dermody, Aidan Cummins, Tom Coogan, Paul Shefflin, Joey Holden, Bob Aylward, Michael Fennelly, David Hoyne, Brian Cody, Henry Shefflin, T.J. Reid, Patrick Reid, Eoin Reid, Colin Fennelly. Subs: Ronan Corcoran for P. Reid; Gavin Butler for B. Aylward; Mark Aylward for Cody; Enda Fitzpatrick for D. Hoyne.

Tullaroan - Richie Butler, Paddy Campion, David Dowling, Diarmuid Doheny, Stephen Maher, Shane Hennessy, Richie Maher, Ken Coogan, Padraig Walsh, Tommy Walsh, Jimmy Coogan, Josh Moore, Peter Walshe, Martin Walsh, Mark Walsh. Subs: Shane Cuddihy for Moore; Eddie Teehan for P. Walsh (inj); Shane Walsh for Walshe; John Walton for Mark Walsh.

Referee - Richard Dowling (Kilmacow).