Ballyhale Shamrocks 6-21 Naomh Eanna 4-11
In a sun drenched Innovate Wexford Park yesterday Ballyhale Shamrocks secured their place in the AIB Leinster Senior Hurling Final. Despite a strong overall team performance, the undoubted highlight was the individual tally amassed by Colin Fennelly once the final whistle blew.
Naomh Eann arrived here fresh off the buzz of their first success at a provincial level, following their victory over Camross in the first round. This was evident as they raced into an early lead thanks to two quick fire goals from the lively Cathal Dunbar. However, the Kilkenny men would not be found wanting as the steadfast Eoin Reid pounced on some defensive indecision to score the Ballyhale men’s first 3 pointer of the day. This left the game evenly poised at 2-02 to 1-04 after 15 minutes.
This was when Fennelly began to make his impact grabbing the first of his four goals in the 18th minute. The remainder of the half was tight with the Gorey men refusing to throw in the towel. TJ Reid scored a late brace to push the visitors 2-09 to 2-06 up at the break.
The warning signs began to ring early in the second half as Fennelly narrowly shot wide from close range. He made up for this miss by scoring two goals in one minute to almost end the game as a contest on the 36th minute with the score-line reading 4-10 to 2-07. As Naomh Eanna pushed to claw their way back into the game things began to really open up and the promising Eoin Cody found the net for Ballyhale once again. This would be how the remainder of the game panned out with goal opportunities coming thick and fast for both sides. Naomh Eanna’s marauding wing back Jack Cullen struck a blow for the home side when finishing off a fine move. It was then the turn of the man of the moment to strike again as TJ Reid fed Fennelly from a short free for the inter county star to fire his final goal.
The Gorey side never gave up and a late penalty from Conor McDonald saw them finish the day with an impressive tally of 4-11, a one that would be good enough to win most games. However, the day belonged to the Shamrocks men and Fennelly in particular. They have laid down a marker here for the rest of the country as they return to the Leinster show piece for the first time since 2014.