Victory for Ballyhale Shamrocks against Rathdowney/Errill

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-18 Rathdowney/Errill (Laois) 1-11, Nowlan Park

Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-18 Rathdowney/Errill (Laois) 1-11, Nowlan Park

Ballyhale Shamrocks qualified for the semi-final of the Leinster club senior hurling championship, beating Laois champions Rathdowney/Errill by seven points at a sunny Nowlan Park.

However, it was far from easy for the 2007 All-Ireland champions - they were tested throughout by a determined Rathdowney/Errill outfit who held them to just five second half points.

Henry Shefflin and TJ Reid were the scorers-in-chief for the eventual winners, amassing 14 points between them over the hour.

Shamrocks started strongly with an Eoin Reid goal after two-and-a-half minutes, following a long range pass from David Hoyne.

Points from Shefflin and TJ Reid propelled their side into a 1-02 to 0-00 lead after six minutes, as Rathdowney/Errill simply had no answer to an eager Shamrocks attack.

It took Rathdowney/Errill ten minutes to get their first point, with centre-forward Eoin Holohan slotting over an excellent effort from play.

Shamrocks' dominated once more to hold a six-point lead by the 20th minute, but Rathdowney/Errill stayed in touch thanks to a Jason Phelan goal eight minutes before the break.

This was a false dawn though, as Ballyhale tagged on seven points without reply before the interval to hold a 1-13 to 1-3 half-time lead.

Shefflin had scored six points by the turnaround, while TJ Reid raised the white flag on five occasions.

Rathdowney/Errill gave a very good account of themselves on the restart, with Brian Campion scoring four second half points - three within the opening eight minutes to cut the gap to seven points.

The gap was reduced to six points with five minutes remaining, but Ballyhale finished strongly to secure a semi-final berth in a fortnight's time, with Westmeath champions Raharney their opponents.

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