Henry Shefflin enjoyed a winning start to life in management as Ballyhale Shamrocks blitzed their way to the points in the Kilkenny senior hurling league.
Former Hurler of the Year TJ Reid was the scorer-in-chief, claiming 0-11 (0-6 frees) as the Shamrocks beat Erin’s Own (Castlecomer) by 1-24 to 0-13.
The winners were in control from early on, taking a six-point lead by half-time thanks to 1-3 from Eoin Reid. Their cause wasn’t helped by a straight red card for Michael Fennelly before the break, but despite the numerical disadvantage, they didn’t let up in the second half, outscoring the Conor Fogarty-led ’Comer men by 0-13 to 0-5 as they romped to victory.
It was a good day also for Mullinavat, who went on a scoring spree to upset city side James Stephens.
Four second-half goals saw the south Kilkenny side take the spoils on a 4-18 to 0-12 scoreline.
The ’Vat were sharper in the first half (they were 0-11 to 0-5 in front at the break) but hit the gas in the second as they raced away from their rivals. Two Jamie Fennelly goals had them 2-15 to 0-8 up by the 45th minute. Further goals from John Walsh and Michael Malone heaped more misery on the Village.
Elsewhere Nickey Cleere’s injury-time point gave Bennettsbridge a narrow win over the Rower-Inistioge. A late Richie Leahy point pushed the Rower ahead in a tense battle before two Cleere frees, the latter in added time, edged the ’Bridge in front.
The Rower will be left kicking themselves. They were 0-11 to 0-2 in front six minutes from half-time, but a goal in either half from Sean Morrissey helped Bennettsbridge start a comeback which led them to victory.
County champions Dicksboro made a winning start to the league, but only after stepping up a gear against Clara.
The sides went point-for- point in the first half and went in all square at 0-6 apiece at the interval.
The turning point came in the second half when the city side, who lined out without Kilkenny captain Cillian Buckley, hit a five-point burst to go 0-11 to 0-6 ahead in the third quarter. Kevin Kenny’s 48th-minute goal did the rest for the ’Boro, who won by 1-14 to 0-10.
Their fellow city side O’Loughlin Gaels were also among the weekend’s winners as they beat Danesfort by 1-16 to 0-11.
Paul Murphy, at home on leave from his peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, lined out at full-back for Danesfort but they were missing Richie Hogan in attack. They missed his presence from a game which was played in tough conditions, as they trailed by 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
O’Loughlin’s kicked on in the second half, with Robbie Buckley’s 42nd-minute goal giving them a lead they would not lose.
Former Kilkenny captain Mark Bergin was the top scorer for the winners, converting seven frees.
Finally, an early Joe Brennan penalty proved the catalyst as St Patrick’s (Ballyragget) scored a good 1-23 to 1-13 win over Carrickshock.
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