Ballyhale Shamrocks oozes class as the ‘Boro fails to ignite

By Jimmy Rhatigan

SYMPATHY is the last thing that young Dicksboro will want following their disappointing senior hurling final showing against three-in-a-row champs Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Sometimes it is better to shut your mouth rather than to open it and insert a foot.
This is one of those occasions.
The ‘Boro players will feel the hurt, the pain, not brought about by their defeat by Shamrocks but by the manner in which they were humbled by the best senior hurling force in Ireland.
We can focus our attentions on the ‘Boro, with respect, the bomb that never exploded but we must also doff our hats to James O’Connor’s merry men who were absolutely meticulous from A to Z.
Watching them dismantle the city club with a cruel military-like precision that meant they dominated in practically every sector for the full 60 minutes was awesome and somewhat cruel.

Sunday roasting
It will be of little consolation to the losers, but reality is that the Shamrocks would have swept away the challenge of any other club in the country with the Sunday roasting that they dished up at the weekend.
Young supporters watching the game on TV should have learned a lot. For the Ballyhale display was a masterclass of the beautiful game, a razor sharp performance of skill, vision, know how, and a radar-like performance of playing as a team.
To write off this ‘Boro side that so many people were raving about on its way to the big match would be inconsiderate, unfair and utterly reckless.
Dicksboro have many terrific players, young stars who could still be around as veteran heroes.
If they committed a sin on Sunday it would most certainly not be considered a mortal one.
It would at best, or worst, depending on your outlook, be a venial one.

The real ‘Boro
It had nothing to do with lack of skill, lack of courage, commitment or lack of loyalty to a club that all of them would die for.
Without being patronising, one would suggest that their only fault in the big match was that the real ‘Boro failed to show.
Earlier games will have taught us that the team is well drilled, has buckets of talent and as others will attest the side is well capable of seeing off the challenge of other clubs with ambitions.
What happened to the maroon and white has been the lot of people in all walks of life since the time of Adam and Eve.
Actors forget their lines, public speakers completely freeze and world class golfers die a death on the final fairway.
Some ‘Boro supporters, in their disappointment, could blame their city rivals James Stephens for their predicament.
And, with respect to The Village, the ‘Boro lads could make the claim with some justification.

Near disaster
After the semi-finals we suggested that Shamrocks brush with near disaster against a super James Stephens could make life tougher for Dicksboro as alarm bells would ring for Ballyhale’s greatest ambassadors.
It did not take a connoisseur of the game to come to that conclusion. There are times when common sense can be a very obvious quality.
It turns out that Shamrocks, as well as being master hurlers are also good at taking a hint.
They knew well that their win over Stephens was a skin of their teeth affair and they were well aware too that Dicksboro had the wherewithal to steal their thunder.
Ballyhale acted accordingly, rolled up their sleeves and vowed that their final performance would be nothing other than their brilliant best.
The writing was on the wall from early on and by the first water break after 16 minutes the South Kilkenny lads were 1-6 to 0-2 in front.

Starting to sink
But for ‘Boro goalkeeper Darragh Holohan the damage could have been worse and the very alert and brave ‘keeper went on to give a Herculean display.
Early on the Good Ship Dicksboro was letting in water.
By half time it was starting to sink as Shamrocks mercilessly torpedoed their defences.
It was 2-9 to 0-7 at half time and even the most passionate of ‘Boro supporters knew that hopes of any renaissance were slim.
It is nigh impossible to halt a juggernaut in top gear.
And that is exactly what the Ballyhale team was as firing on all cylinders it proceeded to dish out a hurling lesson.
It got worse for the ‘Boro as Fr Time ticked at a pace that may have appeared to be tantalisingly slow in the eyes of ‘Boro fans.
The champs had no intention of pulling the brakes as they sped towards a deserved hat-trick.
It ended 5-19 to 1-10.
In defeat, Dicksboro was brittle but gracious.

True colours
In time they may avenge this defeat and show their true colours.
The only disappointment for Shamrocks has to be that because of the Coronavirus Pandemic there is no club championship.
Hurling experts would no doubt tip the family club that truly is a hurling giant to add another national title to its long list of successes.
On Saturday, Lisdowney and Thomastown served up a
sensational thunder ‘n’ lightning game that ended in disappointment for the ‘Town, their second setback in successive seasons.
The St Canice’s Credit Union senior final was probably a blip rather than a crash for Dicksboro.
After the final whistle,
Ballyhale reminded that the squad was dashing home to their village to meet the young hurlers and camogie stars of their parish.
Therein lay a hint of why the club continues to rule the
hurling world.

Previous Love, Love, Love: All You Need is Love
Next Candlelight vision for gran and grandson