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Fennelly hits 2-4 as Ballyhale storm to seventh All-Ireland crown with 17-point win

The Kilkenny club were far too strong for Galway’s St Thomas today.

Colin Fennelly in action for Ballyhale against St Thomas.
Colin Fennelly in action for Ballyhale against St Thomas.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-28
St Thomas 2-11

Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park

THE KINGS OF club hurling reigned again this afternoon, Ballyhale Shamrocks sweeping to their latest All-Ireland title with a powerful display that blew them past the challenge of Galway’s St Thomas.

With their most celebrated name Henry Shefflin now directing operations on the sideline, the Kilkenny champions once more reached the peak with 17 points to spare at the final whistle.

Man-of-the-match Colin Fennelly bagged 2-4 from play with TJ Reid’s haul of 0-9 and Adrian Mullen’s contribution of 0-5 also helping Ballyhale blitz the 2013 winners.

The first half was characterised most by the interventions of Fennelly. By the interval he had two goals to his name, tipping a shot to the net in the 5th minute after his initial attempt was thwarted by goalkeeper Gerald Murray and then a lovely flick to meet a long Adrian Mullen delivery in the 22nd minute saw the sliotar nestle in the far corner in front of Hill 16.

He could have raised a third green flag, his 20th minute one-handed swipe dropped just over the crossbar. But Fennelly was the perfect focal point for the Ballyhale attack and helped shape a 2-10 to 1-8 interval advantage.

St Thomas were left reeling by a whirlwind Ballyhale start that left them adrift 1-4 to 0-1 by the 5th minute but steadied themselves to recover in the first quarter with Conor Cooney firing home a penalty.

Immediately after the break, Darragh Burke struck a sublime score to leave St Thomas trailing by four but that was as close as they got. Ballyhale went through the gears and accelerated clear on the scoreboard. Between the 34th and 45th minute, they reeled off six points without reply and had sailed clear by ten at the three-quarter mark to essentially kill off the game as a contest.

St Thomas lost Fintan Burke through injury but they kept battling and did grab a second goal late on courtesy of David Burke. However Ballyhale were on fire in attack in the closing stages with 0-12 to their credit in the last quarter to bring their second-half tally to 0-18 as they ran out emphatic victors.

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: Colin Fennelly 2-4, TJ Reid 0-9 (0-5f), Adrian Mullen 0-5, Eoin Cody, Patrick Mullen, Brian Cody 0-2 each, Mark Aylward, Evan Shefflin, Ronan Corcoran, Richie Reid 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Thomas: Darragh Burke 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65), David Burke, Conor Cooney (1-0 pen) 1-0 each, James Regan, Bernard Burke, Brendan Farrell, Damien McGlynn.

Ballyhale Shamrocks

1. Dean Mason

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

5. Evan Shefflin
6. Michael Fennelly (captain)
7. Patrick Mullen

8. Ronan Corcoran
9. Richie Reid 

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

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

Subs

22. Mark Aylward for Eoin Reid (42)
21. Conor Walsh for Corcoran (54)
17. Kevin Mullen for Darren Mullen (58)
23. Joseph Cuddihy for Eoin Cody (58)
19. Gavin Butler for Michael Fennelly (60)

St Thomas

1. Gerald Murray

2. Cian Mahoney
3. Cathal Burke
4. Sean Skehill

5. Donal Cooney
6. Shane Cooney
7. Fintan Burke

8. James Regan
9. David Burke

10. David Sherry
11. Darragh Burke
12. Bernard Burke

13. Brendan Farrell
14. Conor Cooney (captain)
17. Damien McGlynn

Subs

19. Mark Caulfield for Fintan Burke (inj) (49)
21. Colin Fallon for Regan (52)
18. Cian Kelly for Sherry (57)
20. Damien Finnerty for McGlynn (59)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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