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Ballyhale retain All-Ireland club title for first time with win over battling Borris-Ileigh

A three point success for the Kilkenny champions today.

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 0-18
Borris-Ileigh (Tipperary) 0-15

NOVELTY IN THE shape of Kilkenny and Tipperary kingpins meeting in a decider of this type, familiarity in the identity of the club hurling team crowned the best in the land today.

brendan-maher-and-eoin-cody Ballyhale's Eoin Cody and Borris-Ileigh's Brendan Maher Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

For the second successive season Ballyhale Shamrocks are All-Ireland senior champions, Borris-Ileigh the latest team to discover the difficulty of trying to stifle them on final day.

The collection of their eighth title is further proof of the elevated standing that Ballyhale Shamrocks enjoy yet they needed to dig deep in this test. Borris-Ileigh produced another stirring display of courage and fight to push Henry Shefflin’s side to the finish line. 

The Tipperary side hit four points on the spin between the 54th and 58th minutes, inspired by the twin threat of Brendan Maher and Jerry Kelly. That cut the gap to 0-16 to 0-14 and raised their hopes of a remarkable comeback.

But their star man shone brightest when they needed. TJ Reid fired over a point, was then fouled for a free he converted and Ballyhale were afforded some breathing space. There was a late charge by Borris, Kevin Maher smashing over a point and they had one last attack when their talisman Maher’s free from 30 yards out was beaten away by a crowd of Ballyhale resistance.

They couldn’t be faulted for effort but Borris-Ileigh could not manage to get close enough to deliver that knockout blow. Their marksmanship slipped short, six point attempts dropped into the hand of goalkeeper Dean Mason over the course of the game. Ballyhale had some terrific defenders as well in Darragh Corcoran and Darren Mullen.

henry-shefflin Ballyhale boss Henry Shefflin

If there were nerves in the Borris-Ileigh camp beforehand about gracing this stage, it didn’t translate to their early play. They were bright and composed, none more so than Kelly who stepped forward to make his mark. The full-forward fired over the opening point of the game from an acute angle near the Cusack Stand, he popped over a beautiful sideline cut from the Hogan Stand side and had chipped in with 0-5 by half-time.

The champions saw their grip of the game strengthen noticeably as the half progressed. Reid’s influence grew as he amassed 0-6, Colin Fennelly’s barrelling runs forward caused problems and the long-range missiles from midfielder Patrick Mullen supplied three points. They were 0-10 to 0-6 to the good at the interval, it was a cushion they could fall back on throughout the second half and victory ultimately came their way.

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: TJ Reid 0-8 (0-5f), Patrick Mullen 0-3, Evan Shefflin, Eoin Reid, Adrian Mullen 0-2 each, Colin Fennelly 0-1.

Scorers for Borris-Ileigh: Jerry Kelly 0-7 (0-1 sideline), Brendan Maher 0-6 (0-4f), Tommy Ryan, Kevin Maher 0-1 each.

Ballyhale Shamrocks

1. Dean Mason

2. Darragh Corcoran
3. Joey Holden
4. Darren Mullen

5. Evan Shefflin
6. Michael Fennelly
7. Brian Butler

8. Ronan Corcoran
9. Patrick Mullen

10. Adrian Mullen
11. Brian Cody
12. T.J. Reid

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

Subs

21. Joseph Cuddihy for Corcoran (46)
22. Mark Aylward for Eoin Reid (53)
23. Conor Walsh for Patrick Mullen (61)

Borris-Ileigh 

1. James McCormack

2. Séamus Burke
3. Paddy Stapleton
4. Liam Ryan

9. Dan McCormack

5. Seán McCormack
6. Brendan Maher
7. Ray McCormack

8. Tommy Ryan
13. Kevin Maher

12. Conor Kenny
14. Jerry Kelly
15. James Devaney

10. Kieran Maher
11. Niall Kenny

Subs

18. Jack Hogan for Kieran Maher (46)
19. Ciarán Cowan for Tommy Ryan (52)
21. Matthew Stapleton for Niall Kenny (53)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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