O’Loughlin Gaels and Clara set up Kilkenny hurling final
Ballyhale Shamrocks saw their reign as champions ended at the hands of O’Loughlin
O’Loughlin Gaels 2-15 Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-13
Ballyhale Shamrocks’ reign as Kilkenny champions has ended after the All-Ireland champs were dethroned by a determined O’Loughlin Gaels in the county semi-final.
Inspired by Mark Bergin, a goal in either half helped the city side set up a final date with Clara in a fortnight’s time.
The decisive moment came with six minutes to play, when Mark Kelly blasted the sliotar to the Ballyhale net, giving his side a six-point lead (2-13 to 0-13).
O’Loughlin’s were the form side in the first half. Bergin led the way, picking off four points inside the opening quarter before he bagged a 26th minute goal which helped his side go in three points to the good at the interval (1-7 to 0-7).
Henry Shefflin led the Ballyhale comeback. By the 41st minute they were a point in front (0-12 to 1-8), but O’Loughlin’s rocked the champs when points from Bergin (0-4) and Martin Comerford were followed by Kelly’s big strike.
The Shamrocks refused to wilt, goaling late on through T.J. Reid and later still from Bob Aylward, but they couldn’t find the reserve of energy needed to complete the comeback.
O’Loughlin Gaels: Mark Bergin (1-9, 0-6 frees); Mark Kelly (1-1); Martin Comerford (0-3); David Burke, Jack Nolan (0-1 each). Ballyhale Shamrocks: Henry Shefflin (0-8, 0-6 frees); T.J. Reid (1-2, 0-1 free); Bob Aylward (1-0); Colin Fennelly, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick, Mark Aylward (0-1 each).
O’Loughlin Gaels: Stephen Murphy, Anthony Forristal, Andy Kearns, Eddie Kearns, Huw Lawlor, Brian Hogan, Paddy Deegan, Mark Bergin, Shane Mahoney, David Burke, Eoghan Grant, Martin Comerford, Sammy Johnson, Danny Loughnane, Mark Kelly. Subs: Jack Nolan for Mahoney, 26 mins; Conor Bergin for Johnson, 35 mins.
Ballyhale Shamrocks: Richie Reid, Keith Nolan, Joey Holden, Alan Cuddihy, Paul Shefflin, Michael Fennelly, Padraig Holden, Ronan Corcoran, David Hoyne, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick, Aidan Cummins, T.J. Reid, Henry Shefflin, Colin Fennelly, Mark Aylward. Subs: Eoin Reid for Cummins, 22 mins; Brian Cody for M. Aylward, 54 mins; Bob Aylward for Hoyne, 56 mins.
Clara 1-23 Mullinavat 0-14
An impressive scoring burst helped Clara book their place in the Kilkenny senior hurling final.
The 2013 champions were sharp in the first half, firing over nine unanswered points to deflate the challenge provided by Mullinavat.
The ’Vat were quick off the mark with points from Mark Mansfield, Joe Gahan and Willie O’Dwyer, but once Clara took control there was no stopping them. David Langton, Liam Ryan (2), Lester Ryan (2), John Murphy, Conor O’Shea (2) and Keith Hogan were all on target as Mullinavat found themselves seven points behind after 19 minutes (0-10 to 0-3). They extended their lead into double figures by half-time, Lester Ryan (2), Keith Hogan, Liam Ryan and John Murphy all hitting the target (0-15 to 0-5).
Clara didn’t hit the same heights in the second half as they had in the first, but they did enough to keep Mullinavat at bay. Mullinavat did narrow the gap slightly, thanks to Mark Mansfield and Ian Duggan, but Liam Ryan (2), Hogan and Jason Byrne fired back four points in succession before Hogan’s 50th minute goal sealed Mullinavat’s fate.
Clara: Keith Hogan (1-5, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65); Lester Ryan, Liam Ryan (0-6 each); John Murphy, Conor O’Shea (0-2 each); David Langton, Jason Byrne (0-1 each). Mullinavat: Mark Mansfield (0-8, 0-3 frees, 0-1 line ball, 0-1 65); Joe Gahan (0-2); Willie O’Dwyer, Ger Malone, Ian Duggan, Mikie Jones (0-1 each).
Clara: Killian Phelan, Dermot Nolan, Shane Prendergast, Sean O’Shea, Neal Prendergast, John Phelan, David Langton, Lester Ryan, Jack Langton, Conor O’Shea, Keith Hogan, Jason Byrne, Liam Ryan, Chris Bolger, John Murphy. Subs: Ciaran Prendergast for J. Phelan, 52 mins; Eoin O’Shea for S. O’Shea, 59 mins; Ben Nolan for Bolger, 59 mins; Joe Connolly for Murphy, 59 mins.
Mullinavat: James Culleton, Joe Fennelly, Robert Malone, Simon Aylward, Padraig Gahan, Liam Fennelly, Brian Phelan, Dinny Butler, Mark Mansfield, Ian Duggan, Joe Gahan, Michael Malone, Jamie Fennelly, Willie O’Dwyer, Ger Malone. Subs: Adam Mansfield for Butler, 45 mins; Mikie Jones for O’Dwyer, 45 mins.