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Three second-half goals help Ballyhale complete Kilkenny four-in-a-row

O’Loughlin Gaels were on the losing side in the Kilkenny SHC final.

O’Loughlin Gaels’ Paddy Deegan battles for the ball with Brian Butler of Ballyhale Shamrocks.
O’Loughlin Gaels’ Paddy Deegan battles for the ball with Brian Butler of Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Ballyhale Shamrocks 3-19

O’Loughlin Gaels 3-15

BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS COMPLETED the Kilkenny hurling four-in-a-row for the second time in their history after a memorable second-half comeback propelled them past O’Loughlin Gaels. 

It takes them within one of Tullaroan’s record haul of 20 titles as TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly collected their 10th county medals with the kingpins of Kilkenny hurling.

This was as hard-earned a county title as they come. 

In first-half injury-time, Ballyhale found themselves trailing by five points, looking in serious danger of losing their Kilkenny, Leinster and All-Ireland titles.

Then TJ Reid created two goals in as many minutes shortly after the restart, finished by Joe Cuddihy and Adrian Mullen, to leave James O’Connor’s side three in front.

Reid showed his usual leadership with the 33-year-old contributing a nine-point haul for the victors. It was a fantastic, hard-hitting encounter that was let flow by the referee. 

Paddy Deegan, the full-forward target man who can consider himself extremely unlucky to end up on the losing team, struck for his first of his two goals as O’Loughlin’s recovered from the concession of that quick fire double and retook the lead in the 44th minute.

O’Loughlin Gaels were chasing their first title since 2010, having lost the 2015 decider, but in the final quarter Ballyhale’s class and experience told. 

They shot 1-6 without reply during that phase, with corner-back Brian Butler raising their third green flag after a glorious solo run and finish to put the tie beyond their opponents.

Deegan saw a 60th minute penalty saved by Dean Mason before adding a consolation goal from play in the 62nd minute to bring his personal tally to 2-3.

Colin Fennelly threatened for an early goal when he barrelled through from the 45 and saw his batted effort turned out for a 65 that TJ Reid sent over. However it was O’Loughlin’s who raised the first green flag of the day through Owen Wall after a beautifully struck sideline from Mikey Butler. 

That left them three ahead on eight minutes and a wonder score over the shoulder from Paddy Deegan, playing in attack here despite being employed in defence with the county team, left the underdogs 1-4 to 0-5 ahead by the first water break. 

Deegan tormented the Ballyhale defence in the opening-half, twice firing over sublime efforts after going short from a line-ball and receiving a pass back. Mark Bergin kept the scoreboard moving from frees and open play, with Wall also proving dangerous inside. 

The O’Loughlin’s rearguard managed to put the shackles on Eoin Reid and Colin Fennelly for most of the game, though the latter did win a 21m free for Reid to fire over.  

Long-range efforts from Ronan Corcoran and Richie Reid kept Ballyhale in touch, but they trailed by five as half-time approached. Late efforts from TJ Reid and Darragh Corcoran reduced that deficit by the interval.

The second-half took off with two Ballyhale goals by the 38th minute. First TJ Reid, who started the third quarter drifting very deep, launched a high ball into Eoin Reid, who forced a stunning save from Stephen Murphy. Joe Cuddihy was on hand to lash home the rebound. 

Less than a minute later, Reid’s sideline was diverted into the net by Mullen. The former Young Hurler of the Year had endured a quiet opening 40 minutes but his intervention sent the champions into a three-point lead. 

Deegan crashed in a close-range goal and Bergin moved them a point ahead by the second water break. In a flash, Ballyhale moved six ahead though efforts from Ronan Corcoran (two), Brian Cody, TJ Reid (two) and Eoin Reid. 

Butler then pushed them eight in front with a lovely run and finish. Deegan hit the net in stoppage-time but it was about all O’Loughlin’s could muster. They finished with 14 men after substitute Danny Loughnane was dismissed on a straight red for an off-the-ball incident. 

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: TJ Reid 0-9 (0-5f, 0-2 65), Adrian Mullen and Joe Cuddihy 1-1 each, Brian Butler 1-0, Ronan Corcoran 0-3, Brian Cody 0-2, Richie Reid, Eoin Reid and Darragh Corcoran 0-1 each.

Scorers for O’Loughlin Gaels: Paddy Deegan 2-3, Mark Bergin 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 65), Owen Wall 1-2, Conor Heary 0-2, Eoin O’Shea, Paddy Butler and Jordan Molloy 0-1 each.

Ballyhale Shamrocks 

1. Dean Mason

21. Kevin Mullen, 3. Joey Holden, 4. Brian Butler

5. Evan Shefflin, 6. Richie Reid, 7. Darragh Corcoran

8. Ronan Corcoran, 9. Brian Cody

10. Adrian Mullen, 11. TJ Reid, 15. Eoin Cody

13. Eoin Reid, 14. Colin Fennelly, 12. Joe Cuddihy

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Subs

19. Conor Phelan for Butler (57)

22. Eoin Kenneally for Eoin Reid (60)

17. Gavin Butler for TJ Reid (63)

O’Loughlin Gaels

1. Stephen Murphy

5. Jordan Molloy 3. Tony Forristal, 2. David Fogarty

4. Mikey Butler, 6. Huw Lawlor, 7. Conor Heary

8. Jack Nolan, 9. Cian Loy

12. Eoin O’Shea, 11. Paddy Butler, 10. Mark Bergin

13. Owen Wall, 14. Paddy Deegan, 17. Robbie Buckley 

Subs 

24. Danny Loughnane for Loy (49)

19. Sean Bolger for Buckley (55)

15. Conor Kelly for Nolan (56)

Referee: Owen Beehan.

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Nowlan Park

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