Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-15 Kilmacud Crokes 0-12
Ballyhale Shamrocks led throughout as they booked a final date with Kilcormac-Killoughey, following a nine-point AIB Leinster SHC semi-final win over Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park this afternoon.
Goals from Henry Shefflin and TJ Reid layed the platform for victory, with Reid top-scoring with 1-8, his goal coming from a speculative free late in the opening half.
Shefflin and Damien Kelly traded early points, but Shefflin’s fifth minute goal kept Ballyhale on top during the opening half.
TJ Reid was on form from placed balls, and following his fourth point in the 20th minute the Kilkenny champions held a 1-6 to 0-4 lead.
Kilmacud worked hard with points from Caolan Conway and Dillon Mulligan, but Shamrocks fired an unanswered 1-2 before the break, including Reid’s goal to take a 2-9 to 0-6 interval lead.
Crokes cut the gap to six points on the restart, with unanswered points from Mulligan and Ryan O’Dwyer.
However, Ballyhale always had the extra edge, holding Crokes to just one point in the final quarter, on the way to a nine-point win.
0-2 to 0-1 ahead after four minutes, following Reid’s opening point, Ballyhale were dangerous early on with Shefflin snatching their opening goal with a rasping shot in the fifth minute.
Reid’s second point opened up a five-point gap soon-after, and although Crokes kept in touch thanks to the efforts of McGrath and O’Dwyer, Ballyhale kept on top.
Kilmacud were forced to perform well defensively, with Cian MacGabhann halting a goal-bound move by Conor Walsh, while Damien Kelly and Matt Collins also worked hard.
At the opposite end Alan Cuddihy made a vital block on an O’Dwyer run in the 23rd minute, as Crokes aimed to erode into their 1-7 to 0-5 deficit at that stage.
Dillon Mulligan helped to cut the gap with an excellent point, but Ballyhale fired 1-2 without reply before the break, including Reid’s 28th minute goal as they took a 2-9 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Crokes fought hard on the restart with a trio of unanswered points, but crucially they couldn’t get within six points of their opponents over the remainder of the hour.
Reid, Shefflin and Colin Fennelly all picked fine points during the third quarter, as Ballyhale moved 2-12 to 0-10 ahead.
Caolan Conway, O’Dwyer, McGrath and Rob O’Loughlin worked hard, but Ballyhale closed out this game with two of the final three points, both from the stick of TJ Reid
Ballyhale Shamrocks: R Reid; A Cuddihy, J Holden, T Coogan; P Shefflin, M Fennelly, C Walsh; B Aylward, D Hoyne; J Fitzpatrick (0-1), H Shefflin (1-2), TJ Reid (1-8, 6f); E Reid, C Fennelly (0-2), M Aylward (0-2). Subs: B Cody for Hoyne (41); K Nolan for Coggan (51); R Corcoran for M Aylward (54); A Cummins for Cuddihy (54).
Kilmacud Crokes: M Collins; N Corcoran, Rory O’Carroll, J Clinton; R O’Loughlin, J Dougan, C MacGabhann; D Mulligan (0-2), D Kelly; Ross O’Carroll, C Clinton, J Sweeney; C Conway (0-2), S McGrath (0-2, 2f), R O’Dwyer (0-5, 4f). Subs: B O’Carroll for J Clinton (18); R Murphy for Rory O’Carroll (HT); O O’Rorke for C Clinton (39); B Mulligan for MacGabhann (47); J Burke for McGrath (52).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)