Champions! Brilliant Ballyhale reclaim All-Ireland, crowning incredible clean sweep for Kilkenny clubs
It’s three out of three for Kilkenny teams in the All-Ireland Club Hurling championships after Ballyhale Shamrocks lifted the senior club title in Croke Park this afternoon.
Ballyhale’s 0-18 to 0-15 win over Tipperary and Munster Champions Borris-Ileigh saw them replicate the exploits of Tullaroan in the Intermediate decider and Conahy Shamrocks in the junior decider yesterday.
In a game that the Ballyhale Shamrocks seemed in complete control of with 10 minutes to go leading 0-16 to 0-10, the Kilkenny champions had not at any point in the game managed to put the shackles on Tipperary star Brendan Maher who led a Borris comeback.
Seven second-half point from Maher saw Borris back to within two points with just over two minutes to go.
It was time for Shamrock’s intercounty stars to show their metal, and they did. TJ Reid popped up with a point straight from the puck out before Adrian Mullen won an important free just outside the 21.
Ballyhale had re-established a four-point lead going into injury time.
Kevin Maher scored a late point for Borris-Ileigh leaving just a goal in it. From the puck out the Tipp champs won a free and launched it down on Ballyhale’s 21 and watched as Brendan Maher caught a great ball and was fouled.
He took the responsibility of taking the free as time expired. His only option – go for goal. The sliothar was fired in, blocked and the whistle blew for full time.
It was fitting that Borris-Ileigh were in with a shout with the last puck of the game, but ultimately Ballyhale Shamrocks were the better team, with a few more natural scorers than Borris.
Ballyhale secured their first ever back-to-back club All-Ireland, their eight in all, putting Ballyhale alone on top of the list of most successful clubs in the country.
Shamrock’s victory capped off a fantastic weekend for Kilkenny hurling, wrapping up the titles in all three levels.
Shamrock’s captain Michael Fennelly in his speech on the steps of the Hogan Stand dedicated the win to the memory of their teammate Eugene Aylward,who tragically passed away late last year.
PHOTO: Henry Shefflin Instagram