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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019
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1-4 for Cody as Shefflin's Ballyhale hold off Ballygunner to book All-Ireland final place

Semple Stadium hosted this evening’s clash.

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-15
Ballygunner (Waterford) 0-13

Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium

THE SIX-TIME champions will step forward in Croke Park next month in search of another All-Ireland club crown, Kilkenny’s Ballyhale Shamrocks successfully negotiating their latest semi-final hurdle.

Henry Shefflin Ballyhale boss Henry Shefflin urges his players on.

This evening Waterford’s Ballygunner were the latest team that the south Kilkenny force conquered, powering clear in the final quarter to claim the victory.

It had the sense of a game-breaking score at the time when Eoin Cody raised a green flag in the 44th minute and thus it proved. On an evening when both rearguards were generally watertight, Ballyhale pounced to crucially prise Ballygunner apart at the back. Patrick Mullen’s long delivery broke into the path of Cody and he accelerated clear before despatching his shot to the net past Stephen O’Keeffe.

Michael Fennelly, Mark Aylward and Richie Reid celebrate after the game Michael Fennelly, Mark Aylward and Richie Reid celebrate after the match. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The renowned sharpshooters on both sides dominated the scoring stakes in the first quarter. Pauric Mahony had edged TJ Reid in that sector by 0-4 to 0-2 with Reid’s 14th minute score the only point that did not originate from a placed ball.

No one else managed to ink their name on the scoresheet until Evan Shefflin smashed over a 17th minute score from his wing-back berth and had to wait until an award from Hawk-Eye before the point stood.

It was a tight and tense opening period with both defences restricting the space afforded to the respective attacks. Mahony despatched a free from distance in first-half injury-time to leave Ballygunner clinging to a narrow advantage, 0-8 to 0-7, at the break.

The teams continued to trade points after the break, it was 0-10 apiece by the 43rd minute, before Ballyhale broke for home with that Cody goal.

Ballygunner were reliant on Mahony’s marksmanship to keep them in touch and every time the cut the gap to two, Ballyhale would respond to push three clear. A great Brian O’Sullivan score in the 58th minute set up a grandstand finish to leave Ballygunner adrift by 1-13 to 0-13.

But Ballyhale would round out the evening successfully with Adrian Mullen and fittingly Cody grabbing the insurance points.

Ian Kenny with Eoin Reid and Adrian Mullen Ballygunner's Ian Reid in action against the Ballyhale attack. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: Eoin Cody 1-4, TJ Reid 0-4 (0-3f), Adrian Mullen, Patrick Mullen, Eoin Reid 0-2 each, Evan Shefflin 0-1.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-10 (0-9f, 0-1 ’65), Brian O’Sullivan 0-2, Peter Hogan 0-1.

Ballyhale Shamrocks

1. Dean Mason

2. Darren Mullen
3. Joey Holden
4. Brian Butler

5. Evan Shefflin
6. Michael Fennelly (captain)
7. Richie Reid

8. Ronan Corcoran
22. Patrick Mullen

10. Brian Cody
11. TJ Reid
12. Adrian Mullen

13. Eoin Reid
14. Colin Fennelly
15. Eoin Cody

Subs

18. Conor Phelan for Butler (inj) (13)
23. Mark Aylward for Brian Cody (half-time)
9. Conor Walsh for Phelan (53)
24. Joseph Cuddihy for Eoin Reid (57)
19. Gavin Butler for Corcoran (63)

Ballygunner

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (joint captain)

2. Eddie Hayden
3. Barry Coughlan
4. Ian Kenny

6. Wayne Hutchinson
5. Philip Mahony
8. Harley Barnes

7. Billy O’Keeffe
9. Shane O’Sullivan (joint captain)

11. Peter Hogan
10. Pauric Mahony
12. Mikey Mahony

15. Conor Power
13. Tim O’Sullivan
14. Brian O’Sullivan

Subs

30. David O’Sullivan for Hayden (half-time)
17. Barry O’Sullivan for Tim O’Sullivan (46)
18. JJ Hutchinson for Billy O’Keeffe (56)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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