Ballyhale blast off to bag the senior Shield spoils

A blistering first quarter saw Ballyhale Shamrocks storm their way to the senior hurling league Shield title.

A blistering first quarter saw Ballyhale Shamrocks storm their way to the senior hurling league Shield title.

This may have been a consolation final for the second best teams in the league groups, but Ballyhale’s performance was far from second rate as they blasted past Carrickshock, writes Trevor Spillane.

The Shamrocks roared into action against the ’Shock, who made a dozen changes from their last league match, resting several of their bigger players. Ronan Corcoran sent them on their way, turning an inch-perfect hand-pass from Henry Shefflin into a searing shot that scorched past Pat Farrell after just five minutes.

Although Carrickshock recovered with a point from Andrew Power Ballyhale galloped on, moving further away with points from Eoin Reid and Corcoran. James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick and a mighty effort from T.J. Reid (free) pushed them further ahead before Mark Aylward netted a second goal with just 12 minutes on the clock.

Much like the first, the second big strike owed much to Shefflin’s pace and vision. Once more he raced in to take on full-back John Dalton before neatly laying the sliotar off to his left where, this time, Aylward was waiting to finish.

Eight points to the good (2-5 to 0-3), Ballyhale pressed on. Led by the dangerous Shefflin (0-3) they stretched their advantage to 11 points (2-9 to 0-4) by the 20th minute. Carrickshock were in danger of being overwhelmed, but gained a lifeline when Andrew Power flashed the sliotar home from close range a few minutes later. They couldn’t add much more, however - John Dalton had a 24th minute penalty saved by netminder Patrick Reid, a contributing factor to the reason why they trailed Ballyhale by double scores at the interval (2-10 to 1-5).

Carrickshock rang the changes in the second half, bringing on the likes of Richie and Jamie Power and David Franks, but even with the wind at their backs they couldn’t reel in the long-time leaders.

That didn’t stop the ’Shock from piling on the pressure, but with Shefflin (0-3) keeping Ballyhale ticking over in the third quarter they could never get close enough. The sting went out of the game in the final quarter, while a growing wides tally prevented Carrickshock from closing the gap, but Ballyhale were never in danger of letting victory slip.

SCORERS: Shamrocks - Mark Aylward (1-4); Henry Shefflin (0-6, 0-2 frees); Ronan Corcoran (1-1); T.J. Reid (0-2, 0-1 free); Eoin Reid (0-2); James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick (0-1). Carrickshock - Andrew Power (1-2); John Power (Lismatigue), Richie Power (0-3, frees each); Niall Rohan (0-2); Michael Rohan (0-1).

Shamrocks - P. Reid, P. Shefflin, A. Cummins, A. Cuddihy, J. Holden, T.J. Reid, B. Aylward, R. Reid, J. Fitzpatrick, E. Reid, M. Aylward, D. Hoyne, C. Walsh, H. Shefflin, R. Corcoran. Subs: M. Dermody, T. Coogan, D. Fitzpatrick.

Carrickshock - P. Farrell, J. Grace, J. Dalton, R. Frisby, N. Tennyson, J. Tennyson, P. Tennyson, P. Mulcahy, D. O’Dwyer, John Power, M. Rohan, D. Walsh, K. Farrell, N. Rohan, A. Power. Subs: R. Power, Jamie Power, M. O’Dwyer, J. Murphy, D. Franks.

Referee - R. Dowling (Kilmacow).