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Ballyhale’s reign as All-Ireland club champions comes to an end in Kilkenny

It’ll be a Clara versus O’Loughlin Gaels final.

Henry Shefflin's contribution of 0-8 wasn't enough to prevent Ballyhale from being dethroned by O'Loughlin Gaels.
Henry Shefflin's contribution of 0-8 wasn't enough to prevent Ballyhale from being dethroned by O'Loughlin Gaels.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

O’Loughlin Gaels 2-15

Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-13

Club All-Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks have been sent crashing out of the Kilkenny senior hurling championship.

The Shamrocks were undone as goals in either half from Mark Bergin and Mark Kelly saw O’Loughlin Gaels end their reign in Nowlan Park today.

The city side were full value for their win as they led for practically all of the match. Led by Mark Bergin (0-4), they took control in the first quarter.

It looked like the Shamrocks would click into gear when Henry Shefflin brought his side to within a point of the leaders by the 24th minute but Bergin shot the perfect response, squeezing the sliotar home from the tightest of angles after a great pass from Danny Loughnane.

That goal helped O’Loughlins go in with the lead at half-time (1-7 to 0-7), but by the 41st minute Ballyhale had edged in front (0-12 to 1-8), with Shefflin again leading the way.

The game turned back the city side’s way after that, as they shot five of the next six points — Bergin got four — before Mark Kelly finished a swift team move with a goal from close range.

Although six points clear, O’Loughlins couldn’t relax. T.J. Reid brought his side right back into the reckoning with a poacher’s goal on 58 minutes.

David Burke and Jack Nolan replied with points, but O’Loughlins had to work until the final whistle after Bob Aylward’s injury-time goal left just two points between the sides.

Scorers for O’Loughlin Gaels: Mark Bergin (1-9, 0-6 frees), Mark Kelly (1-1), Martin Comerford (0-3), David Burke and Jack Nolan (0-1).

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: Henry Shefflin (0-8, 0-6 frees), TJ Reid, (1-2, 0-1 free), Bob Aylward (1-0), James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick, Colin Fennelly, Mark Aylward (0-1 each).

O’Loughlin Gaels

1. Stephen Murphy

2. Anthony Forristal
3. Andy Kearns
4. Eddie Kearns

5. Huw Lawlor
6. Brian Hogan
7. Paddy Deegan

8. Mark Bergin
9. Shane Mahoney

10. David Burke
11. Eoghan Grant
12. Martin Comerford

13. Sammy Johnson
14. Danny Loughnane
15. Mark Kelly

Subs

19. Jack Nolan for Mahoney (26)
18. Conor Bergin for Johnson (35)

Ballyhale Shamrocks

1. Richie Reid

2. Keith Nolan
3. Joey Holden
4. Alan Cuddihy

5. Paul Shefflin
6. Michael Fennelly
7. Padraig Holden

8. Ronan Corcoran
9. David Hoyne

10. James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick
11. Aidan Cummins
12. TJ Reid

13. Henry Shefflin
14. Colin Fennelly
15. Mark Aylward

Subs

29. Eoin Reid for Cummins (22)
20. Brian Cody for M. Aylward (54)
17. Bob Aylward for Hoyne (56)

Clara 1-23
Mullinavat 0-14

Mark Mansfield 4/6/2014 Mark Mansfield chipped in with 0-8 for Mullinavat. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

An impressive string of first-half scores helped Clara ease past Mullinavat and reach the Kilkenny senior hurling final this afternoon.

That burst of nine unanswered points, picked off between the sixth and 19th minutes, told most of the story as they fashioned a lead they would not lose.

Showing great control in the middle third, Clara’s pace allowed them to create room in which to cause havoc. David Langton, Liam Ryan (2), Lester Ryan (2), John Murphy, Conor O’Shea (2) and Keith Hogan were all on target as Clara’s purple patch left them seven clear of Mullinavat by the 19th minute (0-10 to 0-3).

The remainder of the half didn’t get much better for the ’Vat, as Lester and Liam Ryan added points to stretch Clara’s lead into double figures (0-15 to 0-5).

Mullinavat tried to raise their game in the second-half, but Clara weren’t about to cough up their big advantage.

Led by Mark Mansfield and Joe Gahan, Mullinavat did get to within eight points at one stage, but Liam Ryan (2), Keith Hogan and Jason Byrne fired back with a barrage of points before Hogan’s 50th-minute goal settled it well before the final whistle.

Scorers for Clara: Keith Hogan (1-5, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65), Liam Ryan and Lester Ryan (0-6 each), John Murphy, Conor O’Shea (0-2 each), David Langton, Jason Byrne (0-1 each).

Scorers for Mullinavat: Mark Mansfield (0-8, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1 sideline), Joe Gahan (0-2), Ian Duggan, Willie O’Dwyer, Ger Malone, Mikie Jones (0-1 each).

Clara

1. Killian Phelan

2. Dermot Nolan
3. Shane Prendergast
4. Sean O’Shea

5. Neal Prendergast
6. John Phelan
7. David Langton

8. Lester Ryan
9. Jack Langton

10. Conor O’Shea
11. Keith Hogan
12. Jason Byrne

13. Liam Ryan
14. Chris Bolger
15. John Murphy

Subs

18. Ciaran Prendergast for J. Phelan (52)
33. Eoin O’Shea for S. O’Shea (59)
19. Ben Nolan for Bolger (59)
25. Joe Connolly for Murphy (59)

Mullinavat

1. James Culleton

2. Joe Fennelly
3. Robert Malone
4. Simon Aylward

5. Padraig Gahan
6. Liam Fennelly
7. Brian Phelan

8. Dinny Butler
9. Mark Mansfield

10. Ian Duggan
11. Joe Gahan
12. Michael Malone

13. Jamie Fennelly
14. Willie O’Dwyer
15. Ger Malone

Subs

20. Adam Mansfield for Butler (45)
19. Mikie Jones for O’Dwyer (45)

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