Colin Fennelly of Shamrocks Ballyhale in action against Richard Kelly of Mount Leinster Rangers during the AIB Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final. Pic: Piaras O'Midheach
Shamrocks of Ballyhale kicked off their 2021 Leinster club championship campaign with a hard fought six point victory over Mount Leinster Rangers at Netwatch Cullen Park this afternoon.
Despite leading by nine points at the end of the opening half, Shamrocks needed a strong final quarter to fend off a resurgent Mount Leinster Rangers side who are managed by Kilkenny selector Conor Phelan.
Mount Leinster Rangers were having their first competitive game in almost three months after defeating St Mullins in the Carlow final back in September but despite that lack of activity they still gave Shamrocks a bit of a scare and if it weren't for Dean Mason making a crucial save in the 52nd minute, the result may have been different.
The Kilkenny champions made all the early running in a contest that turned into a real game of two halves with a strong wind blowing down the pitch throughout.
With Adrian Mullen, Joe Cuddihy and Brian Cody all in fine form the Kilkenny champions led 0-14 to 0-5 at the half-time break.
Mount Leinster Rangers were much improved in the second period with the free taking exploits of Denis Murphy getting them back into contention and they reduced the deficit to three points at one stage.
Mason's late save proved crucial for Shamrocks though and they took control in the final quarter with TJ Reid, Joe Cuddihy and Eoin Cody all knocking over late points as James O'Connor's men sealed a place in the semi-final against St Rynaghs of Offaly next Sunday.
Scorers for Shamrocks: TJ Reid (0-6, 0-3f,0-1 65), Joe Cuddihy (0-4), Brian Cody (0-4), Adrian Mullen (0-3), Eoin Cody (0-3), Evan Shefflin (0-1) and Ronan Corcoran (0-1)
Scorers for Mount Leinster Rangers: Denis Murphy (0-12, 0-11f), Fiachra Fitzpatrick (0-1), Richard Coady (0-1), Ted Joyce (0-1) and Gary Kelly (0-1)
Shamrocks: Dean Mason; Darren Mullen, Joey Holden, Kevin Mullen; Evan Shefflin, Richie Reid, Brian Butler; Darragh Corcoran, Ronan Corcoran; Colin Fennelly, TJ Reid, Brian Cody; Adrian Mullen, Eoin Cody, Joe Cuddihy.
Subs: Eoin Reid for D.Mullen 23 mins, Gavin Butler for B.Butler 49 mins, Eoin Kenneally for Cuddihy 63 mins.
Mount Leinster Rangers: Dean Grennan; Gary Kelly, David Phelan, Michael Doyle; Richard Kelly, Diarmuid Byrne, Gary Lawlor; Paul Coady, Richard Coady; Fiachra Fitzpatrick, Chris Nolan, Kevin McDonald; Denis Murphy, Jon Nolan, Edward Byrne.
Subs: Ted Joyce for Byrne 13 mins.
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)
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