Ballyhale hammer Dublin champs to complete impressive triple Leinster crown for Kilkenny clubs
BALLYHALE Shamrocks completed an impressive triple Leinster crown for Kilkenny clubs as they put Dublin’s Ballyboden St Enda’s to the sword in a one-sided provincial final in Carlow today.
Yesterday Eddie Brennan’s Graigue-Ballycallan became the seventh Kilkenny club in a row who have gone on to lift the Leinster intermediate championship when they comfortably overcame Portlaoise by a nine-point margin in Nowlan Park.
This followed Dunnamaggin’s victory in the Leinster junior title earlier in the day. Kilkenny clubs have now done the clean sweep – winning Leinster junior and intermediate titles – in four of the last five years.
It was Ballyhale’s turn to step up to the mark today, and the senior champions didn’t disappoint. Their facile victory marked the club’s ninth Leinster senior club hurling title, and probably the most straightforward of them all.
The Kilkenny champions were favourites for this decider, but few foresaw it being so one-sided, with Ballyhale’s sharpshooters picking off scores almost at will in the second half.
Ballyhale started strongly and established a decent cushion on the scoreboard. Central to that was Adrian Mullen’s eight-minute goal which began from a catch claimed by Richie Reid on the Ballyhale half-back line.
It left the Kilkenny champions out in front by 1-2 to a single point, but their good work was almost undone by a host of wasted chances.
Ballyboden eventually found their feet in the middle part of the first half, outscoring their Kilkenny opponents by seven points to three during this period.
It didn’t last long, however, and with the sides level Ballyhale drove on and finished the half much the stronger with four unanswered points. Matters were made more difficult for the Dubs as conditions worsened during the break with a heavy downpour and darkening skies.
Ballyhale piled on the points and the misery when Adrian Mullen (pictured above) claimed his and his side’s second goal with seven minutes of normal time to go. A 16-point win to add to the 14-point margin they enjoyed in seeing off Wexford’s Naomh Eanna in the semi-final.
Overall, a very impressive performance from Henry Shefflin’s men. Next up is a tantalising All-Ireland semifinal encounter against Waterford’s Ballygunner in the New Year.