Brilliant Ballyhale outclass St Thomas to be crowned All-Ireland club champs for seventh time
Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-28
St Thomas (Galway) 2-11
OH how Brian Cody will be glad to welcome back his Ballyhale boys. The Shamrocks became the second Kilkenny club after Dunnamaggin to be crowned All-Ireland club champions this year as the South Kilkenny club easily overcame Galway’s St Thomas at Croke Park.
The victory marks an incredible first year as coach for 10-times All-Ireland winner Henry Shefflin. And it was Ballyhale’s seventh time to go all the way in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship, an amazing achievement for the South Kilkenny village.
The St Patrick’s Day finale caps another fantastic season for Kilkenny club hurling, in stark contrast to the county’s disappointing end to the league campaign.
And Brian Cody will no doubt be relieved to have sharpshooters TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly back to provide some much-needed firepower ahead of the championship.
Fennelly scored two goals, his first coming after just six minutes when he rounded his man, fired at St Thomas’ keeper Dean Mason who initially pulled off a save but was powerless to stop the rebound.
Five minutes later Conor Cooney replied for St Thomas, his low shot to the corner giving Gerald Murray no chance.
Fennelly struck again in the 19th minute, positioning himself perfectly under the dropping ball to apply the most sublime of touches to redirect the ball into the back of the net.
Cooney matched Fennelly in the goal scoring stakes in the 64th minute after he got a touch on a ’65 from Shane Cooney.
But it was too little, too late for the Galway champions as Ballyhale utterly outclassed their opponents to take another All-Ireland back to Kilkenny.