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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO The victorious Ballyhale Shamrocks.
# Unstoppable
Ballyhale Shamrocks finish with 14 men but still clinch historic Kilkenny five-in-a-row
The defending champions ran out as seven-point winners over James Stephens to seal a 20th senior crown.

Ballyhale Shamrocks 1-21
James Stephens 2-11

Robert Cribbin reports from Nowlan Park.

BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS CAPTURED a 20th Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship title when running out seven point winners over James Stephens in UPMC Nowlan Park.

The victory also secured Shamrocks a historic 5 in a row which had never been done in Kilkenny previously and while they were tested at different spells, the beaten All-Ireland finalists were too good on the day for the ‘Village.

Joe Cuddihy’s second half goal put the seal on the win for the Shamrocks in a final where they had to play up to 30 minutes a man down after midfielder Paddy Mullen received a straight red card.

Eoin Guilfoyle and Conor Browne scored goals in each half for the ‘Village but despite the presence of former Kilkenny boss Brian Cody on the sideline, James Stephens couldn’t overturn the Shamrocks.

In a low scoring first half where defences were very much on top, James Stephens took control with Eoin Guilfoyle’s 21st minute goal giving the Kilkenny city side a 1-4 to 0-4 lead.

The Shamrocks response was emphatic though as they scored the next seven points to take a three point lead into the half-time break.

James Stephens wing forward Andy Parsons reduced the deficit to two points at the beginning of the second half before a possible game defining moment resulted in Paddy Mullen being sent off for a wild pull on the far sideline.

The ‘Village were unable to use the red card to their advantage though as Shamrocks showed their class in stepping up a few gears.

Man of the Match TJ Reid came into his own during this period and with Joey Cuddihy, Colin Fennelly, Evan Shefflin and Darragh Corcoran all pointing, Pat Hoban’s men moved into a 0-17 to 1-9 lead.

Joe Cuddihy then struck for Shamrocks only goal inside the final 10 minutes and it was a huge uphill task for James Stephens from that point on.

Conor Browne goaled in the 58th minute and directly from the puckout James Stephens created another opportunity that saw Ross Whelan flick a shot off the post.

A goal there would have made it a real grandstand finish but Shamrocks saw out the rest of the game well as they claimed a 1-21 to 2-11 success.

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks – TJ Reid 0-6 (3f, 1 65), J Cuddihy 1-2, C Fennelly 0-3, D Corcoran 0-2, R Corcoran 0-2, E Cody 0-2, E Shefflin 0-1, R Reid 0-1, A Mullen 0-1 and N Shortall 0-1.

Scorers for James Stephens – N Brassil 0-5 (3f), C Browne 1-1, E Guilfoyle 1-0, T O’Dwyer 0-2, C Kenny 0-1, W Spencer 0-1, A Parsons 0-1.

Ballyhale Shamrocks

Dean Mason;

Brian Butler, Joey Holden, Darren Mullen

Evan Shefflin, Richie Reid, Darragh Corcoran

Ronan Corcoran, Paddy Mullen

Adrian Mullen, TJ Reid, Eoin Cody

Eoin Kenneally, Colin Fennelly, Joey Cuddihy

Subs

Niall Shortall for Kenneally (46)

Killian Corcoran for Cuddihy (61)

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James Stephens

Gavin Costigan

Luke Murphy, Diarmuid Cody, Shane Donoghue

Niall Delaney, Cian Kenny, Niall Mullins

William Spencer, Conor Browne

Andy Parsons, Niall Brassil, Matthew Ruth

Tadhg O’Dwyer, Eoin Guilfoyle, Luke Scanlon.

Subs

Ross Whelan for Ruth (48)

David Hennessy for Parsons (54)

Ethan Butler for Scanlon (57)

Referee – Conor Everard (Graigue-Ballycallan)

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