Record-setting Ballyhale win seventh All-Ireland club hurling title

Record-setting Ballyhale win seventh All-Ireland club hurling title
Ballyhale Shamrocks' Michael Fennelly lifts the Tommy Moore Cup. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 2-28 St Thomas' (Galway) 2-11

Ballyhale Shamrocks are AIB All-Ireland club SHC winners for a record seventh time after a power-packed Croke Park display proved far too much for an overwhelmed St Thomas'.

Two first-half goals from Man of the March Colin Fennelly, and 2-4 in total, helped propel Henry Shefflin's men to the summit of the club game again, their fourth win since 2007.

It's success at Shefflin's very first attempt in the competition after claiming Kilkenny, Leinster and All-Ireland honours in his first season in charge of his home club.

Kilkenny icon TJ Reid weighed in with 0-9 against the 2013 winners while Joey Holden and Michael Fennelly formed the central spine of a strong defence.

There was a terrific performance from ex-Kilkenny minor Adrian Mullen too as Ballyhale outscored their opponents by 0-15 to 1-3 in a one-sided second-half.

St Thomas' barely scraped past Cushendall in the semi-final, relying on defender David Sherry to bail them out with a 65th minute winner.

Ballyhale were more convincing in their 1-15 to 0-13 win over Munster champions Ballygunner and carried that strong form on to the final.

They blitzed the westerners from the off and strode 1-4 to 0-1 clear after just five minutes.

TJ Reid and rising star duo Eoin Cody and Adrian Mullen all pointed before Fennelly grabbed the first of his goals.

The experienced Kilkenny attacker skipped away from his man down the right before beating the 'keeper at the second attempt.

St Thomas' responded with three points in a row from Darragh Burke, Bernard Burke and county man Conor Cooney.

They hit another three-in-a-row of points between the 16th and 20th minutes to tie the game up at 1-6 apiece.

Crucially, St Thomas' never actually took the lead and the Leinster champions finished out the first-half strongly, hitting 1-4 to just 0-2 from their opponents.

Fennelly got his and Ballyhale's second goal in the 22nd minute when he beat his man to Mullen's ball in from the left wing and flicked it past the goalkeeper.

The favourites simply found it easier to conjure their scores and deservedly led 2-10 to 1-8 at half-time.

St Thomas' needed a huge second-half display but were surprisingly brushed aside with ease as Ballyhale firstly reeled off six points without reply and then hit seven points on the bounce.

They finished with 10 different scorers and were 19 points clear in injury-time when St Thomas' swooped for a consolation goal through David Burke when he flicked in from close range.

Ballyhale Shamrocks scorers: C Fennelly (2-4), TJ Reid (0-9, 5 frees), A Mullen (0-5), E Cody (0-2), B Cody (0-2), P Mullen (0-2), R Reid (0-1), E Shefflin (0-1), R Corcoran (0-1), M Aylward (0-1).

St Thomas' scorers: Darragh Burke (0-7, 6 frees), C Cooney (1-0, 1 pen), David Burke (1-0), D McGlynn (0-1), J Regan (0-1), B Burke (0-1), B Farrell (0-1).

Ballyhale Shamrocks: D Mason; D Mullen, J Holden, B Butler; E Shefflin, M Fennelly, R Reid; P Mullen, R Corcoran; A Mullen, TJ Reid, B Cody; E Reid, C Fennelly, E Cody.

Subs: M Aylward for Reid 42, C Walsh for Corcoran 54, Kevin Mullen for D Mullen 58, J Cuddihy for for E Cody 58, G Butler for M Fennelly 60.

St Thomas': G Murray; C Mahoney, S Skehill, C Burke; D Cooney, S Cooney, F Burke; J Regan, David Burke; Darragh Burke, C Cooney, D Sherry; B Burke, B Farrell, D McGlynn.

Subs: M Caulfield for F Burke 49, C Fallon for Regan 52, C Kelly for Sherry 56, D Finnerty for McGlynn 60.

Ref: F Horgan (Tipperary).

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