Ballyhale Shamrocks are through to the All Ireland club hurling final.
The Kilkenny men beat holders Ballygunner of Waterford at Croke Park by 1-16 to 0-16 points. TJ Reid got the crucial goal from the penalty spot, finally putting the ball passed a valiant Stephen O’Keeffe.
Unbelievable win, into another All Ireland in a few weeks. Congrats to our team and management #club#together#50years
Speaking after the game Shamrocks manager Pat Hoban, who lamented his sides second half performance in the Leinster final, said this very much played on his mind when approaching this game;
“The last day people said we fell asleep in the second half, that is very disrespectful to the Crokes. So we were very conscious that the type of drop in performance would not be good enough. I think today we showed the quality of players and character, their ability to bring tactics into the game, and their ability to show an absolute hunger. So they deserve huge praise.”
“But, we have won nothing today, absolutely nothing, today was just about getting to an All-Ireland final. That is what we achieved.”
Shamrocks know better than most having lost last year’s final, that nothing is certain. Who stands in their way now? It is none other than the Ulster Champions, Dunloy. The Antrim side got the better of Galway’s St Thomas’ by 1-14 to 0-13 points in the early throw-in. The game is a while away, with the little matter of Christmas to get over first, Hoban won’t allow his side to rest on their laurels for too long;
“Fairplay to Dunloy for getting there. Shamrocks are used to being favorites, unusually today we were outsiders. We will sit back and enjoy the next week or so, then get our act together.”