Shamrocks and ‘Shock in draw thriller

ST MARTIN’S (Muckalee) and James Stephens eased into the Kilkenny SHC semi-finals yesterday, but league kings and championship favourites Ballyhale Shamrocks and neighbours and fierce rivals Carrickshock must meet again after a thrilling draw.

Shamrocks had the semi-final ticket snatched from their grasp when a late, late point from county star Richie Power forced a 3-14 to 2-17 draw.

Five minutes from the end Shamrocks were in trouble when a Richie Power point put wind assisted Carrickshock 3-12 to 1-15 ahead.

Shamrocks hit back for a point from Henry Shefflin before Colin Fennelly scored a spectacular goal to put them 2-16 to 3-12 in front.

However, Richie Power landed a leveller for the ‘Shock but virtually on full time Eoin Reid pointed to regain the lead for Shamrocks.

That point looked to be the winner until Richie Power landed a super equaliser from a near 100 metre free nearly two minutes into added time.

There was good news for Kilkenny hurling here when John Tennyson made a return to action for Carrickshock after being sideline by injury for nearly 12 months.

Tennyson hasn’t played since last year’s county final after having surgery to repair what was his second cruciate injury in three years.

St Martin’s scored an easier than expected win over Fenians in their quarter-final (1-16 to 0-6).

The teams shared six points in the opening quarter. St Martin’s took the lead in the 17th minute via a Paul Maher point and they roared on to lead by 1-8 to 0-4 at the break, the goal coming from Eoin McGrath right on the whistle.

The Fenians fell away completely in the second half, and they were a well beaten team long before the finish.

James Stephens had to tough it out before beating Eddie Brennan’s Graigue-Ballycallan by 1-18 to 1-8. The opening half exchanges were tough and hard, and nothing was decided at the break when ‘Stephens led by 1-8 to 1-6 after playing against the breeze.

The teams twice exchanged points in the early minutes of the second half, but then a run of ‘Stephens scores from Niall Tyrrell, David McCormack, sub David Walton and Matt Ruth pushed them 1-14 to 1-8 clear and it was game over. Kilkenny star Eoin Larkin, who was central to most of the winners best moves up front, scored 1-6.

In the first round championshp/relegation semi-final game, Dicksboro, the Kilkenny and Leinster intermediate champions, secured their senior status for another season at least when they beat Clara by 2-16 to 1-17 in a replay.

The scores were level at 2-14 to 1-17 with 59 minutes played. The ‘Boro won the match thanks to points from Martin Gaffney and sub Cillian Starr.

Clara led by 1-10 to 1-7 at half-time. Their star performer was Keith Hogan, who scored 1-13. He just happens to be brother of Kilkenny captain, Brian Hogan, who plays with O’Loughlin-Gaels.

The ‘Boro now face O’Loughlin’s in the delayed quarter-final tie, while Clara play Tommy Walsh’s Tullaroan in the relegation final, the losers of which will drop back to the intermediate grade next season.

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