TJ Reid (Shamrocks) takes a quick look towards the posts. Pic: Willie Dempsey
Shamrocks hurled up the perfect hurling storm in the third round of the senior hurling league.
The performance the reigning All-Ireland club champions delivered in John Locke Park was quite flawless, and it was unfortunate for the gallant Tullaroan to have come up against the Shamrocks in all of their hurling majesty.
Tullaroan came out of traps in spirited guise, and took the fight to the winners from the bell. Within 30 seconds of throw-in, John Walton divided the Shamrocks posts with a smashing point. The winners were availing of a good breeze in the first half, and within 90 seconds (and not for the only time) corner forward, Eoin Cody levelled matters with a delightful score. Bill Gaffney shot Tullaroan into the lead two minutes later, but Eoin Cody again nullified its value with a like score.
Four unanswered points by Eoin Cody provided his team with a mini-launchpad that whispered of dark clouds on the horizon for the North Kilkenny outfit. Further points by Eoin Reid, a gem by TJ, a brilliant save of a certain goal attempt by Eoin Cody by the Tullaroan custodian, Paul Buggy and a long-range Darragh Corcoran point all within a four-minute window underlined the prospect of a tough day at the office for the Tullaroan lads.
By the first water break, the Shamrocks led by 0-9 to 0-5- points by Shane Walsh and Pauric Walsh contributing to the Tullaroan take.
The Shamrocks’ lead increased further with points from TJ Reid (2), Colin Fennelly, and Ronan Corcoran. At half-time they led by 0-13 to 0-5.
In truth, the score does not reflect Ballyhale’s dominance all over the park. TJ Reid was worth the entrance fee alone as friend and foe alike lauded his every move, while Colin Fennelly led his troops wherever his help was needed. He roamed from end line to end line setting up movement that can only be described as awesomely telepathic. The Shamrocks half back line of Evan Shefflin, Richie Reid and Darragh Corcoran was the rock that the Tullaroan ship foundered, while Joey Holden was flawless at full-back.
By the second water break the zest had gone from Tullaroan’s endeavour. They only added two points to their half time take to the break, whereas the Shamrocks bombed into a 2-20 to 07 lead in the same moiety.
13 minutes into the new half Colin Fennelly fired over a 60-metre point from play. A minute later, Fennelly pilfered possession on the same 60 metre line. He banged a super inch-perfect pas to TJ some 50 metres forward, and simultaneously started his forward gallop. Reid to Brian Cody and back to Fennelly who had arrived on the 30-yard line. Fennelly drew the Tullaroan cover, and Reid slipped into space. The rest was patently simple with Reid pulling the trigger (1-20 to 0-7).
60 seconds later the same players delivered an encore, the captain doing the shooting this time.
To their credit, Tullaroan never gave up the ghost. They tried as hard as was humanly possible with no dereliction to their traditional passion. Pauric Walsh grabbed a goal in the 59th minute while his younger brother Shane clattered one home late on. It procured respectability on the scoreboard for the Tullaroan lads for whom full-back Tommy Walsh, Jack Keoghan, Tomas Dunne, Shane and Pauric Walsh were excellent.
Tullaroan can certainly thank their goalkeeper for some outstanding saves he made in both halves, Truly Paul Buggy was certainly the best of the two goalkeepers on view.
Shamrocks - Brian Cody (1-5); TJ Reid (0-7, 0-3 frees); Colin Fennelly (1-3); Eoin Cody (0-4); Darragh Corcoran (0-3); Eoin Reid, Ronan Corcoran (0-2 each); Richie Reid, Joe Cuddihy, Evan Shefflin, Liam Barron (0-1 each).
Tullaroan - Shane Walsh (1-4; 0-1 free, 0-1 65): Pauric Walsh (1-1); John Walton, Bill Gaffney, Dylan Simpson, Tommy Walsh (V), Bill Walton, Jim Moore, Mossy Keoghan (0-1 each).
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