Club kings Ballyhale red-hot favourites to retain Kilkenny crown
Club kings Ballyhale Shamrocks are red hot favourites to retain their status as Kilkenny Senior Hurling champions after booking a spot in the final with a semi-final victory over James Stephens.
The reigning All-Ireland champions went into the break level at Nowlan Park on Sunday and found themselves narrowly behind at the start of the second half. But TJ Reid’s final tally of 1-11 helped them prevail by six points to reach their fourth county final in consecutive years.
James O’Connor’s side were already 1/2 favourites to make it four county titles in a row, but have now sunk into 2/9 in the betting with BoyleSports, with O’Loughlin Gaels now standing in their way of being crowned Kilkenny champions for the 19th time.
The city side hit three late points to overcome Tullaroan by 1-18 to 0-18, but remain 11/4 underdogs in their quest for a first Kilkenny championship since 2016.
BoyleSports spokesperson Lawrence Lyons said: “Ballyhale Shamrocks had to dig deep again, but they always seem to have enough and their dominance in the betting is beginning to look well justified. It’s all one-way traffic in the betting for the final so far and at 2/9 from 1/2 it’s going to take a big upset to deny them four-in-a-row.”