Five times county champions took on Dicksboro in the St Canice’s Credit Union SHC quarter-final at UPMC Nowlan Park yesterday
Shamrocks Ballyhale have had a difficult season so far this year, losing a number of players at the start of the year didn’t help their cause, they had a poor league by their standards which found them playing in the first round of the championship against Danesfort, this was also a relegation semi-final which would be hard to fathom that the county champions could be fighting to stay senior the following year, that scenario didn’t happen as the Shamrocks beat Danesfort and were drawn against Dicksboro in the quarter-finals of the championship.
This was a game that had everything, drama, great scores, fantastic skill and late drama. Ballyhale had a five point lead by the half time interval thanks to a goal from Adrian Mullen. Dicksboro have been the team to beat this year going unbeaten up to the quarter final game, they did battle back in the second half and their cause was helped with the sending off of Paddy Mullen. Dicksboro went three points ahead but the Shamrocks showed why their All-Ireland Champions. Two late scores from TJ Reid saw The Boro lead with the clock in injury time. The champions who are going for a record sixth title in a row had to endure a nervy few minutes at the end as referee Owen Beehan had gave The Boro a late penalty only to change his mind after chatting to his umpires, Andy Gaffney stood up for Dicksboro and took the twenty metre free but it was brilliantly saved by Dean Mason and the game was over, Shamrocks won by the two points and advance to the county semi-final.
Speaking to KCLR after the game, manager Pat Hoban said “They’re incredible men, in fairness to The Boro we knew what we were up against and they lived up to it and they brought the fight. At half time we were in a good position, we thought we could push on but we didn’t, The Boro came at us and went ahead by three and it was looking lost almost but the heart, the mindset of these players is just incredible and the fight out there is unbelievable to see it”
“You know yourself, shake it up we know The Boro is very tactically setup they play very structured hurling and we tried to upset it and that’s all really and we got a point off it so it worked, but you have to get out in front and fight for every ball then”
“He [TJ] is incredible absolutely and we earned every free we got I thought, some of our lesser known players, Eoin Kenneally, Conor Walsh they did a magnificent job in midfield for us, Cillian Corcoran some of the young lads really stepped up, Darren Mason that’s his first championship game, really really strong and to be fair to Colin, he was struggling with a calf injury he didn’t even want to come off in the endlike we had to pull him off, unbelievable heart”
“What The Boro started doing is what we feared they started was running at us, they had subs coming in they had fresh legs, we were down to the wire realistically. Dean is a very good goalie, excellent shot stopper, he was disappointed he didn’t catch the last shot that’s the way he thinks, he has that confidence and its fantastic, everyone has a job to do and that’s his job and to a man it was incredible”