All-Ireland Club SHC final: Brilliant Ballyhale make it back-to-back titles

January 19, 2020

Ballyhale's Eoin Cody rounds Borris Ileigh's Seamus Burke. ©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Ballyhale Shamrocks 0-18
Borris-Ileigh 0-15

Ballyhale Shamrocks have cemented their place at the top of the All-Ireland Club SHC roll of honour with title number eight.

The Michael Fennelly captained outfit got the better of Tipperary opponents Borris-Ileigh by 0-18 to 0-15 at Croke Park today to make it back-to-back titles for the first time in their illustrious history.

They were made to sweat for their latest national success by underdogs Borris-Ileigh who showed no signs of stage fright in the early exchanges. Their full-forward Jerry Kelly played like a man possessed in the first-half and he accounted for all bar one point of his team’s 0-6 half-time tally.

Shooting into the Davin Stand, his haul included a superbly executed sideline cut from the Hogan Stand side and the Tipperary and Munster champions led by 0-4 to 0-2 by the end of the third quarter thanks largely to the number 14’s efforts.

Their county stars, Brendan Maher and Dan McCormack, both picked up yellow cards in separate incidents as Ballyhale put a slow start behind them to take over in the lead (0-6 to 0-5) by the 20th minute.

TJ Reid, who also finished the opening period with 0-5 to his name, grew in prominence as the game progressed while Colin Fennelly put Shefflin’s charges two points clear in the 23rd minute.

Kelly replied with his fifth point but the momentum was with Ballyhale at this stage and Fennelly came close to raising a green flag in the 27th minute only to be denied by James McCormack in the Borris-Illeigh goal.

Ballyhale Shamrocks captain Michael Fennelly lifts the Tommy Moore Cup. ©INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon.

Midfielder Paddy Mullen was also very much to the fore for the winners in the first-half and he contributed three points as his team went in with a 0-10 to 0-6 advantage at the halfway stage.

Eoin Reid and Brendan Maher (free) traded scores at the start of the second-half and the scoreboard read 0-13 to 0-9 in Ballyhale’s favour at the three-quarter hour mark.

An Adrian Mullen brace left five points between the teams (0-15 to 0-10) entering the final 10 minutes and the signs were ominous for the Johnny Kelly coached Borris-Ileigh when half-back Evan Shefflin fired over from distance moments later.

As you would expect, the team in maroon and white kept plugging away and their efforts were rewarded with four unanswered points via Maher (2) and Kelly (2) to leave them trailing by just two points (0-14 to 0-16) with two minutes of normal time left on the clock.

‘Man-of-the-match’ TJ Reid calmed Ballyhale nerves with a point shortly after and then displayed all his experience and skill in the 59th minute to win a free that he subsequently converted for his eight point overall.

Brendan Maher pulled a point back for the challengers but Ballyhale held on for a deserved victory.

Ballyhale Shamrocks - D Mason; D Corcoran, J Holden, D Mullen; E Shefflin (0-2), M Fennelly, R Reid; R Corcoran, P Mullen (0-3); A Mullen (0-2), B Cody, TJ Reid (0-8, 5f); E Reid (0-2), C Fennelly (0-1), E Cody. Subs: J Cuddihy for R Corcoran, M Aylward for E Reid, C Walsh for P Mullen.

Borris-Iliegh - J McCormack; S Burke, P Stapleton, L Ryan; S McCormack, B Maher (0-6, 4f), R McCormack; T Ryan (0-1), D McCormack; K Maher, N Kenny, C Kenny; K Maher (0-1), J Kelly (0-7, 1sl), J Devaney. Subs: J Hogan for K Maher, C Cowan for T Ryan, M Stapleton for N Kenny.

Referee - C Lyons.

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