AIB Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship Final 2018
Ballyboden St.Enda’s (Dublin) 0-11 Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 2-21
By Kevin Dillon
Ballyhale Shamrocks were crowned Leinster Senior Club Hurling Champions for the ninth time after an outstanding second-half performance in Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday.
The Dublin side got off the mark first with a pointed free from Paul Ryan in the first minute, before two points in quick succession from Eoin Cody and Evan Shefflin put the Kilkenny champions in front.
Ballyhale then extended their lead even more when Adrian Mullen broke away from the Ballyboden cover and fired it to the back of the net past Gary Maguire to push the gap out to four, 1-02 to 0-01.
Ryan and late inclusion to the starting fifteen Colm Basquel both pointed to keep the Dublin champions intact, but Eoin Reid was on target for Ballyhale to put them three ahead, 1-03 to 0-03 after fifteen minutes.
Seven time All-Ireland winner and 2015 Hurler of the Year TJ Reid opened his account with a free on seventeen minutes, before Ballyboden landed four points, two from Ryan, and one from Basquel and corner-back Shane Durkin to level proceedings after twenty minutes, 1-04 to 0-07.
Reid and another late Ballyboden starter Niall McMorrow exchanged points to keep the scoreline level, before both TJ and Eoin Reid were on target for the Kilkenny side to leave them four points clear at half-time, Ballyhale 1-09 Ballyboden 0-08.
Two pointed frees from Reid extended Ballyhale’s lead to six, before Niall Ryan pointed Ballyboden’s first point of the second-half, Ballyboden leadin 1-11 to 0-09 after forty minutes.
Ballyhale went on to dominate the game from that point, scoring seven points without reply, from Reid, Cody, Michael and Colin Fennelly and Adrian Mullen to extend the deficit to twelve, and a second goal from Mullen with seven minutes remaining pushed the gap to fifteen, 2-18 to 0-09.
Ryan and Conor Dooley both hit late points for the Dublin side, but scores from Reid, Fennelly and substitute Mark Aylward capped off a spectacular performance from Henry Shefflin’s side, it ended 2-21 to 0-11. Ballyhale will now face Waterford and Munster champions Ballygunner in the All-Ireland semi-final, and they’ll be hoping to make it all the way to Croke Park on St.Patrick’s Day.
Ballyhale Shamrocks – Dean Mason, Darren Mullen, Joey Holden, Brian Butler, Evan Shefflin (0-01), Michael Fennelly (0-01), Conor Walsh, Ronan Corcoran, Richie Reid, Brian Cody, TJ Reid (0-09, 0-08 f), Adrian Mullen (2-01), Eoin Reid (0-03), Colin Fennelly (0-02), E Cody (0-03)
SUBS: Gavin Butler for C Walsh (39 mins), Mark Aylward (0-01) for B Cody (45 mins), Joey Cuddihy for E Reid (54 mins), Paddy Mullen for R Corcoran (57 mins), Kevin Mullen for B Butler (57 mins)
Ballyboden St Enda’s – Gary Maguire, James Madden, Dean Curran, Shane Durkin (0-01), Stephen O’Connor, Simon Lambert, Luke Corcoran, David O’Connor, David Curtin, Niall McMorrow (0-01), Conal Keaney, Aidan Mellett, Paul Ryan (0-05, 0-04 f), Conor Dooley (0-01), Colm Basquel (0-02)
SUBS: Niall Ryan (0-02) for C Dooley (30+2 mins), Paul Doherty for A Mellett (38 mins), Finn McGarry for D Curran (47 mins), Conor McCormack for D O’Connor (49 mins), Malachy Travers for S O’Connor (56 mins)
Referee- Patrick Murphy (Carlow)