Liam Blanchfield - he was a real creative force in the Bennettsbridge attack
Bennettsbridge fought like tigers in what was a very competitive game, and they scored a battling win over Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Kilkenny senior hurling league in Thomastown today to claim second place in Group A and the ticket into the Shield final against Dicksboro.
The winners hit the ground running when playing against the stiff wind blowing towards the town end. Their top scorer Nicky Cleere opened the scoring with a point after no more than a few seconds, and with Liam Blanchfield a real creative force in attack, they led at one stage by 0-7 to 0-3.
The Shamrocks finished the half well, and late scores from Adrian Mullen and T.J. Reid (free) saw them cut the interval deficit to the minimum, 0-10 to 0-9.
The 'Bridge took off again at the start of the new half, adding unanswered points through Cleere and the two Blanchfields, Liam and Kevin.
The Shamrocks mounted a furious chase afterwards, and after Reid pointed a free in the 50th minute the deficit was back to the minimum again, 0-15 to 0-14.
However, by this stage the 'Bridge had introduced the man who was to be their super sub, Danny Coyne. He pointed with his first touch. When he clipped home a goal in the 57th minute when the Shamrocks had the difference back to a point again, he more or less decided the issue.
Scorers: Bennettsbridge - Nicky Cleere (0-8); Danny Coyne (1-1); Aidan Cleere, Liam Blanchfield (0-2 each); Enda Morrissey, Kevin Blanchfield, David Blanchfield, Willie Murphy (0-1 each). Ballyhale Shamrocks - T.J. Reid (0-11); Evan Shefflin (0-2); Ronan Corcoran, Mark Aylward, Adrian Mullen (0-1 each).
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