1971 was last time they won a senior trophy.They have been building the last decade winning junior in 2015, intermediate 2017 and backing it up with All Irelands.
Clara started off playing against the wind but grabbed the first score of the game with Matthew Kenny putting it over the bar. The game ebbed and flow between both sides, anything you can do, I can also do springs to mind. Clara eventually opened up a two point gap ten minutes in until Jamie Harkin and Liam Blanchfield responded to draw the game at 5 points each.
Then there was a huge blow for Clara as Former Kilkenny captain Lester Ryan pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury about
Nicky Cleere made it six points a piece before Liam Ryan got his first score of the day to split the side again. Cleere proved why he one of the most consistent free takers in Kilkenny over the last decade and once again tied the game. Despite the tit for tat scoring the game was somewhat subdued and was waiting for a moment to burst the match into gear.
Bennettsbridge finally took the lead on the 28th minute with Nicky Cleere capitalising on Clara’s lack of discipline and put over his sixth free of the game. He hadn’t long to wait to score his seventh on the stroke of half time. Clara reduced the two point gap when Chris Bolger grabbed a point for his third point from play.
Clara seemed to be playing more of the hurling, with the lack Ciaran Brennan and Sean Morrissey possibly effecting Bennettsbridge from getting the ball into the forward line. Despite this The Bridge were up, heading into half time on a score of 0-10 to 0-09.
The game started up with Clara hitting two early wides after tensions rose a bit between the two sides. It resulted in a frustrated Clara giving away another free which was duly converted by Nicky Cleere once again, registering the first point of the second half. Willie Murphy opened up the biggest gap in the game when he shortened the stick to make it 12 points to 9.
An overcooked ball was well recovered by James Nolan before the ball ended up in the hands of David Langton who grabbed an important score for Clara, their first of the half. Tensions began to rise again when Bill Carrigan and Liam Blanchfield both received a yellow card after the players clashed, albeit adding some much needed bite to the game.
Willie Murphy wearing number 19 grabed a brilliant score 11 minutes in, to open the gap before Liam Ryan got his second from play under pressure from three Bridge players. “A Pat Delaney hop” allowed a roaming Willie Murphy to put his side up by three points again, and you could see the confidence rising amongst his team.
Liam Ryan showed his experience, a man who always steps up to the plate for Clara, and kept it a two point game. Scores like this allowed the Claramen to hang in the game without being that superb. Once again Liam Ryan grabbed another score to half the lead just before the second waterbreak.
Liam Blanchfield grabbed the first point on restart while Jack Langton also responded for Clara. Willie Murphy provided for Liam Blanhfield which took away Clara’s the opportunity to draw the game. Clara had the wind in the second half so they began shooting from a further distance however they ended up grabbing more wides (15) then points (14) with ten minutes to go. In contrast to this Dan Shanahans men did not register one wide at all in the second half.
Willie Murphy, the man who has been everywhere in the second half made it 17 points to 14, still only a puck of ball in it, however a goal in this game had not seemed likely. With 60 minutes on the clock Matthew Kenny grabbed a point to give Clara a fighting chance, until Willie Murphy went down the other end to keep the distance, an earn the Man of the Math moniker from Scorelines commentary team of Adrian Ronan and Aidan Taggy Fogarty. There was a cherry on top for Bennettsbridge who some very Intelligent hurling with four passes zig zagging across the field with Jason Cleere finishing it off.
The ref blew up the whistle after about 8 minutes of added time and with that Bennetsbridge were crowned the league champions.