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Red-hot Ballyhale and Rower-Inistioge book Kilkenny senior hurling semi-final places

2015 Hurler of the Year TJ Reid was prominent for Ballyhale Shamrocks as AFL-bound Darragh Joyce caught the eye for Rower-Inistioge.

Ballyhale Shamrocks are on the march again.
Ballyhale Shamrocks are on the march again.

FORMER ALL-IRELAND kingpins Ballyhale Shamrocks are through to the semi-finals of the 2016 Kilkenny senior hurling championship, along with Rower-Inistioge.

Both clubs advanced to the last four with impressive victories over Mullinavat and St Martins this afternoon.

Ballyhale showed ominous form as they romped to a massive 3-20 to 1-11 victory in Thomastown.

Last crowned county champions two years ago, and All-Ireland champions in 2015, star-studded Ballyhale showed form to suggest they have their sights firmly set on regaining their Kilkenny crown.

They flew out of the blocks as leading scorer TJ Reid (1-7), Eoin Reid and Brian Cody scored the first half goals to establish a 3-10 to 0-5 lead at half-time.

Evergreen 10-time All-Ireland SHC medallist Henry Shefflin was also on the scoresheet for Ballyhale, clipping over a point in each half.

John Walsh scored a late consolation goal for outclassed Mullinavat.

Meanwhile, AFL-bound Darragh Joyce was prominent for Rower-Inistioge as they cruised past St Martins in Bennettsbridge.

Joyce scored 1-6 from placed balls as Rower-Inistioge ran out comfortable 2-19 to 0-12 winners.

Joyce, who’s signed a rookie contract with St. Kilda, was home to assist his club into the last four of the Kilkenny championship and he had collected 1-4 by half-time, including a penalty goal, before adding two further frees in the second half.

Darragh Joyce Darragh Joyce was in excellent scoring form for Rower-Inistioge. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tom Murphy, who finished with 1-2 from play, scored a 24th-minute goal and at half-time, Rower-Inistioge were 2-9 to 0-7 clear.

The winners kept the scoreboard ticking over comfortably in the second half as Richie Leahy (0-4) and Kevin Murphy (0-3) also caught the eye.

John Maher (0-5) and Colin McGrath (0-3) did most to affect the scoreboard for St Martins but all of their scores were frees.

And a miserable day for St Martins went from bad to worse ten minutes from time when Ollie Walsh was red-carded.

There’s a double-header at Nowlan Park on Sunday afternoon for the two remaining semi-final slots as O’Loughlin Gaels take on James Stephens in a city derby at 2pm, followed by the clash between holders Clara and Dicksboro at 3.45pm.

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