Ballina (Tipperary) 3-19 St Brendan’s Ardfert (Kerry) 0-15
Tipperary champions Ballina proved too strong for a lacklustre St Brendan’s, Ardfert following a one-sided Munster Club IHC semi-final at a chilly MacDonagh Park, Nenagh yesterday.
A blistering opening-half performance laid the foundations for Ballina’s 13-point victory and despite the Kerry champions hanging on to their coattails in the opening quarter, they still led by double scores, 0-8 to 0-4, with 20 minutes elapsed.
Further unanswered points from impressive wing-forward Stephen Stritch, coupled with a Michael Breen free, stretched Ballina’s advantage to seven before two goals late in the half from corner-forward, TJ O’Connell and centre-forward, Michael Breen ensured they took a commanding 2-13 to 0-6 lead to the dressing room.
Credit to the injury-hit Brendan’s side, they battled hard in the second half with their defence tightening up considerably and the impressive Darren Dineen picking off a couple of nice points from play.
Their dependency on the free-taking abilities of corner-forward John Egan kept them barely within striking distance, but Ballina’s teak tough defence, marshalled by full-back, Pat Cosgrave and centre-back, Thomas Collins, proved far too difficult for the Kerry side to break down.
Despite Ballina taking their foot off the gas in the closing stages, they still proved more than a match for their outclassed opponents with a second Michael Breen goal right on the stroke of full-time rounding off a comprehensive victory for the Tipp side.
Scorers for Ballina: M. Breen 2-7 (0-6f); S. Stritch 0-4; TJ O’Connell 1-0; E. Sheehy, G. O’Brien and S. O’Brien 0-2 each; D. Hickey and D. Kent 0-1 each.
St. Brendan’s scorers: J. Egan 0-9f; D. Dineen 0-3 (0-1f); T. Moloney, K. Fitzgerald and D. Griffin 0-1 each.
BALLINA: M. McKeogh; R. Kennedy , P. Cosgrove, B. McKeogh; K. Cosgrove, T. Collins, D.Kent; G. O’Brien, S. O’Brien, S. Stritch, M. Breen, S. McKeogh; TJ O’Connell, B. Stritch, D. Hickey.
Subs: E. Sheehy for B. Stritch (h/t); C. Maguire for O’Connell (44); F. Collins for T. Collins (54); P Ryan for S. O’Brien (57).
ST. BRENDAN’S, ARDFERT: T. Hannafin; F. Horgan, C. Flaherty, K. Orpen; K. Hannafin, E. Corridan (C), R. Horgan; D. Dineen, D. Moriarty; D. Wallace, O. McCarthy, D. Griffin; C. Hussey, T. Moloney, J. L.l. Egan.
Subs: K. Fitzgerald for Wallace (28); A. Dineen for Hussey (inj h/t); J. Galvin for (Moriarty (h/t); N. O’Sullivan for McCarthy (54); JP Leen for Moloney (54).
Referee: M. Wadding (Waterford).
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