BY NIALL SHERRY
St Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship
UPMC Nowlan Park
Shamrocks Ballyhale 3-26 Glenmore 0-20
Shamrocks Ballyhale cantered to the quarter-finals of the St Canice’s Credit Union Senior Hurling Championship following a 15-point win over Glenmore at UPMC Nowlan Park last Sunday.
What appeared to be a tricky test on paper for the 5-in-a-row seeking Shamrocks, turned out to be a much more one-sided affair, as Pat Hobin’s side were rarely troubled by last season’s intermediate champions.
New Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng had a watching brief and will no doubt have been pleased with the performances of stars TJ Reid, Adrian Mullen and Eoin Cody.
Glenmore actually raced into an early 3-point lead, thanks to points from Ethan Phelan, full-forward and ex-county man Ger Aylward and a free from the ever-reliable Alan Murphy. The lead was wiped out with what appeared to be Ballyhale’s first real attack. A long ball into the Glenmore defence was pounced on by Eoin Keneally who strode forward before off-loading to the supporting Eoin Cody, who’s well-struck shot into the ground beat keeper Thomas Dunne and nestled in the back of the net.
Killian Corcoran was then harshly adjudged to have thrown the ball by O’Loughlin’s whistler, Sean Cleere; and Alan Murphy duly split the posts from the free awarded. Shamrocks responded by hitting the next four scores.
All-Star nominee, Adrian Mullen picked up possession out on the right and fired over a classy score to bring the sides level, before his brother Paddy took a nice pass from the influential Kenneally before splitting the posts for a fine point. Twice Young Hurler of the Year Eoin Cody was the fouled by Shane Murphy and this allowed TJ Reid to notch what was to be the first of his 6-points for the day. Adrian Mullen then dropped deep into his own half, collected the ball and arrowed a lovely pass to the moving Eoin Cody who made no mistake in striking a lovely point.
Glenmore’s centre-forward Liam Hennessey was then halted illegally by Darragh Corcoran and Alan Murphy again popped over the free. Eoin Cody then blazed away from his marker before showing nice skill to notch another fine score. Former county full-forward Colin Fennelly, looking fresh after a hurling spell in the USA tried to drive away from his marker was fouled, and when no advantage accrued, TJ popped over the free.
Shamrocks wing-back Darragh Corcoran the sent a lovely long pass into the Glenmore defence which Eoin Kenneally collected and sent over the bar to extend the holders lead to 5-points. Late inclusion Kenneally was having a real impact on proceedings, popping up everywhere across the front six positions. From the next puck-out, Eoin Cody caught the ball before striking over a fine score from distance to further cement his team’s superiority. Cody then turned provider when he slipped the ball to Paddy Mullan who rifled over a lovely score off his left side.
Ballyhale were in cruise control, everything appeared too easy. They were finding space with every movement. Adrian Mullen then won the ball out on the right before coming under pressure. He managed to make a short pass to his captain, Ronan Corcoran who showed some nice skill before striking a beautiful point to make it an 8-point game.
Glenmore needed something to try and stem the rising Shamrocks tide and they got their first score in a few minutes when corner-forward Mark Aylward beat Killian Corcoran before pointing to give their supporters some hope. The hope was very short-lived. A long ball delivered into the Glenmore defence was won superbly by Niall Shortall. The young forward looked as if he was going to retreat, but showed great balance to change direction and head towards the opposition goal. Shortall looked up before rifling a thunderous low shot beyond the goalkeeper and into the net. Eighteen minutes on the clock, Ballyhale up by ten points, 2-10 to 0-6.
The next score was also a Ballyhale one. Eoin Cody fired over another lovely point from out on the right. Alan Murphy then took a sideline cut short to his brother Shane, who popped the ball back to Alan who struck a fine point from a tight angle. Ger Aylward who had been lively in the opening quarter, testing Joey Holden at every opportunity, then got the ball around midfield and sent a nice pass to Liam Hennessey who calmly fired over. Glenmore then struck a third point on the bounce when wing-back Billy Reid won possession before driving forward and unleashing a much-needed score to reduce the deficit to 9 points.
The Mullen boys then combined out on the left side to great effect. Paddy passed to Adrian who showed good skill to fire over on his left side. Shamrocks full-back Joey Holden then saw yellow following a hurl to the helmet of the tricky Ger Aylward. Alan Murphy slotted over the resulting free. Seconds later, Eoin Cody took possession out on the left, looked up and split the posts with a cracking score. Billy Reid then notched his second point of the day from round about half-way after No.14 Aylward had laid a nice pass off to him.
Shamrocks registered the next two points. First up was Darragh Corcoran, who took a pass from Adrian Mullen before striking a fine point. Colin Fennelly and TJ Reid then combined before finding midfielder Ronan Corcoran who showed good composure before rifling over. The hard-working Ger Aylward then showed his undoubted ability when he pointed from out on the right side of the pitch. Adrian Mullen then linked up with TJ before sending over a monster score from around half-way.
Shane Murphy who was covering lots of ground in both directions from his midfield berth then got on the score board to register Glenmore’s 13th point of the afternoon, and their last of the opening period. Then one of the cardinal sins in hurling, TJ Reid left unmarked. We all know how this ends, and true to form, TJ sent over an easy point from the left side in the first of two minutes of additional time. There was still time for captain Ronan Corcoran to bring his tally to 3 points, when he pointed after his side turned over Glenmore with some good pressure.
Sean Cleere sounded the short whistle, Shamrocks Ballyhale 2-18, Glenmore 0-13.
An 11-point lead for the beaten All-Ireland Club finalists. There would be no way back for Bob Aylward’s side.
The second half started in the same vein, with Shamrocks displaying class and control in equal measure. First up was a lovely point from No.15 Niall Shortall, following a nice pass from Paddy Mullen. Glenmore full-back Eoin Aylward was then blown-up for a foul on Colin Fennelly and TJ popped over the free. Double scores.
To their credit, Glenmore hit the next 3 points, but they would have needed a couple of early second half goals to mount any real challenge. Eoin Cody then raced corner-back Sean Duggan to the ball and as the defender slipped, Cody flicked the ball to his hand before pointing from out on the right. Pat Hobin introduced a couple of substitutes to give some championship minutes to the panel, knowing that tougher challenges lay ahead. There was a stoppage in play following an injury to Glenmore’s Shane Murphy, following a collision with Paddy Mullen. Despite receiving treatment, Shane was unable to continue and was replaced moments later.
Liam Hennessey was then fouled and this allowed Alan Murphy to notch another point from the placed ball, but again Ballyhale struck back through another classy score from Adrian Mullen. Glenmore struck next via a well-worked point from Liam Hennessey. Adrian Mullen then took a sideline cut and found his county colleague TJ Reid. TJ took possession, turned and fired over a nice point.
The third green flag to be raised by Shamrocks would be the final nail in the Glenmore coffin. Another searching ball into the danger zone. As both sides tried to gain possession, the ball came loose and Adrian Mullen reacted quickest and struck a hard shot back across the goal to the net.
Three further points from Ballyhale courtesy of Evan Shefflin (2) and a third free from TJ completed the scoring before the long whistle sounded. Final score, Shamrocks Ballyhale 3-26, Glenmore 0-20.
>> SHERRY SAYS………..
Tougher tasks will undoubtedly lie ahead for Pat Hobin’s men, but their showing against a dangerous side like Glenmore will have pleased the Mullinavat native.
Eoin Cody, the livewire forward had 1-3 from play in the opening quarter and was a threat throughout. County colleagues, TJ Reid & Adrian Mullen also put in encouraging displays as the Shamrocks showed their class and ruthlessness over the course of the afternoon at UPMC Nowlan Park.
Captain Ronan Corcoran showed his class also, hitting some lovely scores as he glided through the game. There were also encouraging performances from Niall Shortall, Eoin Kenneally and Killian Corcoran, three of the younger members of this panel.
Joey Holden was given a tough time by Ger Aylward, but was helped out more in the second half when Richie Reid Swept in front of him.
Clara up next for Ballyhale. Their eye remains firmly on the prize.