TJ Reid masterclass sees Shamrocks ease to Leinster hurling final

TJ Reid masterclass sees Shamrocks ease to Leinster hurling final
TJ Reid of Ballyhale Shamrocks in action against Aaron Maddock of St Martin's during the AIB Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship semi-final match between Ballyhale Shamrocks and St Martin's at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 5-19 - 1-16 St Martin's (Wexford)

On the day of his 32nd birthday, TJ Reid displayed his enduring class with a 2-14 haul as holders Ballyhale Shamrocks moved within touching distance of a 10th AIB Leinster club title.

The All-Ireland holders were at their ease from the moment Brian Cody hit the net after just 18 seconds at UPMC Nowlan Park, the first of five majors they'd grab over the hour or so.

Reid hit two of those goals while Eoin Reid and the excellent Colin Fennelly nailed the others in a landslide 15-point provincial semi-final win over the Wexford champions.

Just 1,801 turned out for the tie and they missed a one-man wonder-show from birthday boy Reid who struck his tally from a mixture of frees, a penalty, a line ball and open play.

Ballyhale will be hot favourites to overcome Rathdowney-Errill or St Mullins in the final in a fortnight with the Laois and Carlow sides meeting in the second semi-final tomorrow.

Ballyhale will be without Richie Reid for that game, however, as the midfielder, who scored two early points, will fly out on Monday for a tour of duty in Lebanon with the Defence Forces.

Young Hurler of the Year Adrian Mullen is also doubtful after limping off with what manager Henry Shefflin described as a worrying dead leg injury.

That happened early in the second-half and, in truth, the game was already up at that stage with Ballyhale 2-12 to 0-7 up at the interval following Cody's early goal and a Reid penalty conversion.

TJ had a second opportunity to net from a penalty after a foul on Fennelly but changed sides with his strike and this time put the ball just outside the 'keeper's left upright.

Fennelly played in Eoin Reid for Ballyhale's third goal in the 43rd minute and when the Shamrocks won the subsequent puck-out, the ball was worked back in towards Fennelly who made a great catch and struck to the net.

Their fifth goal was scored by TJ when he rounded the 'keeper on the right and converted from a tight angle.

They led by 19 points at one stage though Shefflin ran in his full allocation of subs and St Martin's improved late on, scoring 1-4 in the closing minutes including a Michael Codd goal.

Ballyhale Shamrocks scorers: TJ Reid (2-14, 1 pen, 11 frees, 1 sideline); C Fennelly, E Reid and B Cody (1-0 each), E Cody and R Reid (0-2 each), A Mullen (0-1).

[b/]St Martin's scorers: J Coleman (0-9, 9 frees); M Codd (1-0); J O'Connor and H O'Connor (0-2 each); J Firman, D Codd and R O'Connor (0-1 each).

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

Subs: J Cuddihy for A Mullen (37), C Walsh for R Corcoran (46), G Butler for R Reid (50), E Kenneally for E Reid (51), M Aylward for E Cody (53).

St Martin's: L White; Joe O'Connor, C Firman, E O'Leary; D Waters, A Maddock, P O'Connor; H O'Connor, M Codd; J Firman, Jack O'Connor, J Coleman; C Lyng, R O'Connor, M Coleman.

Subs: D Codd for M Coleman (36), M Moloney for J Firman (46), J Devereux for P O'Connor (58).

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).

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