Eoin Murphy shines at Páirc na Seamróg
BY NIALL SHERRY, SPORTS EDITOR
St. Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League-Championship 2023
Shamrocks Ballyhale 2-14
The current holders of the Tom Walsh Cup were given a stark reminder that claiming a 6th successive County title won’t be easy, going down at home by 3 points to a very hungry looking Glenmore side. Despite top scoring with 1-10, veteran TJ Reid finished up on the losing side having returned to the club jersey along with Eoin Cody and Adrian Mullen. Interestingly, Adrian played much of the game at centre-half back and didn’t look out of place there!
The wind was always going to be a factor and the home side opted to play against the wind in the opening period. Kilkenny netminder Eoin Murphy was operating in the ‘6’ position and the Cats number one was influential throughout the contest as he covered plenty of ground, snuffing out danger and setting up attacks.
It would be Eoin’s brother and fellow county-man Alan that got the scoreboard moving with an early point to give the visitors the lead. Liam Barron then took possession before giving a nice pass into TJ, who split the posts to level matters. The next two scores came from Eoin Murphy. The first effort was a booming free from his own ‘45 and the second one, a lovely strike from play from inside the Glenmore ‘65. Bob Aylward’s side were certainly using the strong wind to their advantage, but they were about to be caught with a sucker punch.
TJ got the sliotar in his hand and played a lovely pass across the pitch to his County Captain. Eoin Cody collected the pass and took his man on before unleashing a fierce shot past Mikey Kirwan in the Glenmore goal for the first major of the day in the 7th minute to give the Shamrocks the lead. The visitors responded well, and Alan Murphy drew the sides level shortly after from the placed ball after Adrian Mullen was harshly adjudged to have fouled.
The next score was a lovely one, ex-county man Ger Aylward striking over a beautiful point from way out on the right side of the pitch. TJ then stood over a free and hit it perfectly against the elements to deadlock matters again. Glenmore then profited from a mis-hit free by Evan Shefflin, one of their young stars, Dean Croke was on hand to rifle over the bar, a score that was enjoyed by the visitor’s bench. Adrian Mullen then turned provider from his deep lying role, finding TJ who finished superbly.
Another mishap from the Shamrocks, this time a sideline cut from Eoin Cody was intercepted and Billy Reid struck over. TJ was once again the main source of scores for his side and sent over another well-hit placed ball. Then came the second major of the day. A long ball into the Shamrocks defence saw Ger Aylward head for the goal, but the dangerous forward was brought to the ground. Referee Maurice Flynn consulted with his umpires and awarded the penalty. Alan Murphy, with number 21 on his back, stepped up and struck his effort past Mark Aylward in the Shamrocks goal.
Another effort from the placed ball by Alan Murphy followed, Glenmore were now 4 points to the good and looking right at home in Páirc na Seamróg. They were never behind from the 22nd minute, something that many might have thought not possible, but you could sense a hunger from Glenmore.
Pat Hoban’s men hit back with their second major of the game. Eoin Cody was fouled, possibly chopped by Eoin Murphy, and again after consulting his umpires, whistler Maurice Flynn signaled penalty. Only one man for the job, TJ Reid, but before he could go through his routine and get set to take the shot, Eoin Murphy advised Mikey Kirwan that he would stand between TJ and the goal! No doubt Murphy would have faced many efforts from Reid over the years during County training. TJ dispatched the penalty with authority, Shamrocks were back in the contest.
Back in his outfield position, Eoin Murphy then went on a driving run before being halted illegally by a combination of defenders. Brother Alan converted the free, and he would repeat the process moments later after Conor Walsh was adjudged to have touched the ball on the ground. There was time for one more point before the interval, a cracking effort from the eldest Reid, Eoin to leave the half-time score, Shamrocks Ballyhale 2-5, Glenmore 1-10.
Eoin Reid got the first score after the short whistle to bring it back to a 1-point game, but the Pairc na Ratha based club showed no fear and marched on. The accurate Alan Murphy sent over another placed ball after Evan Shefflin saw yellow for what looked to be a little bit of dissent in the direction of the referee. The ever-dangerous Ger Aylward then struck over another lovely effort, again from way out near the sideline. Billy Reid, who was proving a handful for the Shamrocks, was then fouled, and again Alan Murphy did the needful and the gap was back to four points.
Another of Shamrocks Ballyhale’s young contingent, Kevin Fennelly then got on the scoresheet with a lovely effort before one of the second half’s key performers, Cathal Beirne, who finished the game with 0-3, hit the first of his tally. TJ fired over another placed ball, but Glenmore’s response was to hit two in a row, the first from the impressive Beirne and a quality effort from play by Alan Murphy. TJ then took a lovely catch before striking over a quality score, but in truth his team were struggling to play with the wind advantage.
Glenmore then hit 3 unanswered points via Alan Murphy (f), Dean Croke and one from Eoin Aylward and again the home side’s answer to the visitor’s growing lead was two further placed balls from TJ Reid, the 2nd from his one ‘65. The second half’s stand-out performer, Beirne then got his third and final point, a lovely strike from way out the pitch. Like they also do, Shamrocks battled and tagged on three further points, two more from TJ and a nice score from young sub Mark Gorman. Referee Flynn awarded the home side a free deep into stoppage time, but Eoin Cody’s floated effort into the danger zone resulted in Glenmore’s top scorer, Alan Murphy emerging with the sliotar. There was to be no more time for Shamrocks to strike. Full-time at Páirc na Seamróg, Shamrocks Ballyhale 2-14, Glenmore 1-20.
Glenmore: Alan Murphy (1-8, 1 pen and 7 frees), Cathal Beirne (0-3), Eoin Murphy (0-1 free), Ger Aylward and Dean Croke (0-2 each), Billy Reid, Ian Byrne and Shane Murphy (0-1 each)
Shamrocks: TJ Reid (1-10, 1 pen and 8 frees), Eoin Cody (1-0), Eoin Reid (0-2), Kevin Fennelly and Mark Gorman (0-1 each)
Shamrocks: Mark Aylward, Brian Butler, Darragh Mason, Killian Corcoran, Evan Shefflin, Adrian Mullen, Conor Phelan, Paddy Mullen, Conor Walsh, Liam Barron, TJ Reid, Kevin Fennelly, Eoin Kenneally, Eoin Reid, Eoin Cody.
Glenmore: Michael Kirwan, Ciaran Vereker, Eoin Aylward, Sean Duggan, Shane Murphy, Eoin Murphy, Billy Reid, Richie Hennessy, Shane Doherty, Cathal Beirne, Alan Murphy, Dean Croke, Ethan Phelan, Ger Aylward, Ian Byrne.
Ref: Maurice Flynn
SHERRY SAYS: CLUB ROUND-UP…..
Great win on the opening day for Glenmore. They deserved to make the short journey home with the 2 points, having given a great display of guts and guile at Páirc na Seamróg. The Murphy’s were all impressive, Alan from the placed ball, Shane driving them forward from wing-back and Eoin looking every inch a quality ‘6’. Cathal Beirne, Billy Reid and Dean Croke also caught the eye for the visitors on a day when the wind played its part. Simply, Glemore hurled better into the elements that Shamrocks did.
Bob Aylward won’t get carried away, it’s a good start, but he knows that Shamrocks are prone to a slow start and were missing some nine players from last year’s County final panel. Pat Hoban will hope to get some of those bodies back in the club over the next few weeks, but the likes of Joey Holden, Brian Cody and Joe Cuddihy are unlikely to be seen in the famous jersey this season.
Of the likely rivals to Shamrocks crown, O’Loughlin’s, Dicksboro and James Stephens all recorded first round wins last weekend. Paddy Deegan and Huw Lawlor were back on club duty and looking impressive while Mark Bergin was imperious from the place ball. Young David Fogarty hit 0-3 and outstanding while flanking the experienced Deegan. Padraig Walsh was the best for the Sash in the defeat, and they will hope to get John Walton back in the team sharpish.
Brian Cody’s Village were 7-point winners over Billy Ryan’s Graigue Ballycallan, while Dicksboro hit 5-18 in their win over Clara at Pairc Sheamuis Stiophan. Meanwhile there were also opening round wins for Bennettsbridge and Mullinavat over Erins Own and Danesfort respectively.
Now for round two.