Ballina stay in contention with Kilruane MacDonaghs scalp

Ballina produced the shock of a busy weekend of Tipp hurling action with a 2-17 to 2-14 win over a very fancied Kilruane MacDonaghs in the North senior hurling championship at Puckane.

Kilruane have been in top form recently, but Ballina, who were Intermediate champions two years go, produced their best performance of a disappointing campaign so far, to take the victory and keep themselves in the hunt for the divisional title.

U21 football star Stephen O’Brien gave Ballina the ideal start with a goal after only a minute but Kilruane hit back for goals by Cian Darcy and Thomas Cleary to lead at half-time 2-9 to 1-9.

The third quarter saw Ballina on top. A goal by county panellist Michael Breen levelled for them and they forged ahead from there to finish deserving three points winners.

Portroe followed up their win over Moneygall last week with a 2-16 to 0-18 win over Burgess, who are now out of the championship. Also eliminated are Borrisokane who suffered a 5-21 to 1-16 defeat at the hands of Silvermines.

In the county championship, JK Brackens clinched their place in the first round proper when topping their group courtesy of a 1-16 to 0-12 win over Carrick Swans at Boherlahan. A goal by Tipp forward Shane Bourke after 17 minutes was the critical score of the first half at the end of which JK Brackens led 1-8 to 0-4.

Swans came back strongly on the changeover and cut the lead to four points with 10 minutes to play, but their failure to take their chances proved costly .

Killenaule were most impressive as they racked up a 1-23 to 2-16 win over Lorrha in their county championship tie at Templemore, to qualify for the first round proper of the championship. Tipp’s Kieran Bergin started at corner forward for Killenaule and scored six points from play before reverting to defence when the pressure was on in the second half. Killenaule led by seven points at the break, thanks to a Billy Barrett goal, but two Lorrha goals in the second half had them breathing down Killenaule necks. In an exciting finish, Killenaule held on for a deserved win.

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