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Ballyhale battle past Slaughtneil in thrilling All-Ireland semi-final showdown

A late Colin Fennelly goal was key as Henry Shefflin’s side marched on.

TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks celebrates after the game.
TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks celebrates after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 2-24
Slaughtneil (Derry) 2-19

Declan Bogue reports from Newry

BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS BECAME the first side to book their place in the All-Ireland club hurling final, battling all the way to a win against a Slaughtneil side that stuck to their tails all the way.

The Derry men opened the scoring in the first minute with Chrissy McKaigue converting a tricky chance and soon were 1-3 to 0-2 up when a Brian Cassidy sideline cut was broken by Sé McGuigan and fell to Jerome McGuigan to stroke it on the ground past Ballyhale goalkeeper Dean Mason.

However, the game was decided like many others involved the All-Ireland champions and Kilkenny, with TJ Reid’s super talents from the dead ball, hitting eleven in total, ten from frees.

They soon wrestled back the lead but moments of genius, such as Brendan Rogers taking the ball on his stick from his own goalkeeper’s puckout, before rounding Darren Mullen and lacing over from the sideline, kept pushing them tight on Ballyhale’s tails, with the half-time scoreline Ballyhale just one point in front, 1-11 to 1-10.

The contest was only decided in the end when Colin Fennelly picked up his second goal, getting beyond Slaughtneil sweeper Gerard Bradley and stitching the ball to the net in the 62nd minute.

Slaughtneil’s hopes were ignited going down the stretch. They had answered four consecutive Ballyhale points with three of their own and with two minutes left Brendan Rogers caught a puckout from his own goalkeeper and headed for clear ground where he unleashed a blistering shot to the net to leave just one point in it.

However, an instant reply from Evan Shefflin and a TJ Reid free followed by Fennelly’s final word on the game.

Scorers for Ballyhale: TJ Reid 0-11, 0-10f, C Fennelly 2-1, E Shefflin and B Cody 0-3 each, E Cody, R Corcoran 0-2 each, P Mullen, E Reid 0-1 each

Scorers for Slaughtneil: C O’Doherty 0-9 (0-9f), B Rogers 1-2, J McGuigan 1-0, B Cassidy 0-3, C McKaigue 0-2, S ÓCasaide, M McGrath, Sé McGuigan 0-1 each 

BALLYHALE: D Mason; D Corcoran, J Holden, D Mullen; E Shefflin, M Fennelly, R Reid; R Corcoran, C Walsh; A Mullen, B Cody, TJ Reid; E Reid, C Fennelly, E Cody

Subs: P Mullen for C Walsh (HT), M Aylward for B Cody (58m), J Cuddihy for E Cody (62m) 

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SLAUGHTNEIL: O O’Doherty; K McKaigue, S Cassidy, S Ó Caiside; C McKenna, Shane McGuigan, M McGrath; G Bradley, C McKaigue; M McGuigan, C O’Doherty, B Rogers;  B Cassidy, Sé McGuigan, J McGuigan

Subs: C McAllister for ÓCasaide (49m)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

More to follow 

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About the author:

Declan Bogue

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