While he didn’t need to be at his superb best in Ballyhale Shamrocks’ comfortable first round championship victory over Glenmore at the weekend, TJ Reid was once again at the heart of yet another win for his all-conquering side.
Six points, split evenly between scores from play and frees, along with some awe-inspiring creative play helped the county champions notch up 2-18 by half-time and 3-26 come the full-time whistle at UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday evening.
The Hurler of the Year nominee’s attention quickly turned to the next opponent, who come in the form of shield winners Clara. following that result.
See also: Dates for your diary: Kilkenny senior hurling championship quarter-finals heading to UPMC Nowlan Park
The 34-year-old is under no illusions as to what is needed if Pat Hoban’s men are to advance to yet another semi-final and continue their pursuit of a record breaking fifth consecutive county title.
Speaking to Scoreline after the 3-26 to 0-20 defeat of 2021 intermediate champions Glenmore, the 2015 Hurler of the Year reflected on that encounter while he also looked ahead to Sunday’s meeting with the 2013 and 2015 county champions.
He began: “We’re delighted with the performance and the result. We played well and scored 3-26 so we’re happy with that. We dropped our level a bit in the second half which is a bit disappointing because if we ease off like that again next week against Clara, they’ll punish us.
“We clicked well in the forward line. We moved well and linked up and we have good forwards. The plan was to move the ball quick and to do it with intensity. We did that in the first half.
“We were disappointed in our performance against Tullaroan and we had two weeks to reflect on that and we improved which was important.”
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On a league campaign that saw them finish third in their group, Reid noted:
“There were a lot of question marks about this team. We’re on the road for a while and we’re going for five-in-a-row and the hunger wasn’t there in the league. We wanted to respond to that and I think we did against Glenmore.”
He also pinpointed the reasons why they tend to peak come championship time.
“I think there’s a psychological reason for us performing better come championship time. It’s in our heads that the league is the league and if we win it, it’s great, but if we lose, it’s ok.
“Championship is where it’s at for us and where you want to be performing at your best. We have a great management team and when you combine that with timing your performances you’ll be in good stead.”
See also: Big Game Live: Ballyhale Shamrocks v Glenmore, Kilkenny senior hurling championship first round
He finally looked ahead to Sunday’s clash with Clara.
“Clara will be a tough challenge. Anytime we have played them over the last ten years we’ve found it very difficult.
“They’ve beaten us in the league on a few occasions and there’s been some tight championship matches too. They’re young and hungry and I think it has the making of a great game.”
We’ll have full live commentary of all four quarter-finals in the St Canice’s Credit Union Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship this weekend, with Ballyhale Shamrocks taking on Clara at 3.45pm on Sunday afternoon.