Reid stars for Ballyhale Shamrocks
Kilkenny SHC Final
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS 2-20 BENNETTSBRIDGE 2-17
Ballyhale Shamrocks are the kings of the Kilkenny senior hurling scene once again, but had to battle all the way to hold off a spirited Bennettsbridge.
T.J. Reid was the man of the hour for Henry Shefflin's side, scoring 1-10 as they earned their 16th senior county title.
The Shamrocks wasted little time taking control of the game, with Reid leading the way. He opened his account with a free inside the opening 60 seconds and then, after Eoin Cody picked off a point, broke through the Bridge defence to rattle the net after just four minute (1-2 to 0-0).
Reid was just getting going at that stage. He helped himself to the next three points, the last one a free from his own 65m line, to push the red-hot favourites eight points in front in as many minutes (1-5 to 0-0).
Bennettsbridge were stunned by that salvo, but gradually began to claw their way back into the game. Helped by free-taker Nicky Cleere they narrowed the gap to five (1-7 to 0-5), but just when it looked like they were getting back into the game the Shamrocks raced away again, Eoin Cody gathering a breaking puck-out and blasting it to the net (2-7 to 0-5).
The Shamrocks pressed on from there, shooting more points through Reid and half-backs Evan Shefflin and Darren Mullen, to go in at half-time with a commanding lead (2-12 to 0-8).
The Shamrocks kept that tempo going in the early stages of the second half, but a fired-up Bennettsbridge fought back. Stepping up the pace they scrapped back into contention thanks to two Brian Lannon goals in 10 minutes, while a pair of long range points from Enda Morrissey had them breathing down Ballyhale necks by the 45th minute (2-15 to 2-12).
However, the Shamrocks never panicked. Picking things up they hit back, getting a crucial run of scores to end Bennettsbridge's resistance. Ronan Corcoran, Eoin Reid, Mark Aylward and Colin Fennelly mined valuable points to push the gap back up again and lead the team back to winning ways.
Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: T.J. Reid 1-10 (8fs), Eoin Cody 1-1, Brian Cody 0-2, Adrian Mullen, Darren Mullen, Evan Shefflin, Ronan Corcoran, Eoin Reid, Mark Aylward, Colin Fennelly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Bennettsbridge: Brian Lannon 2-1, Nicky Cleere 0-7 (7fs), Enda Morrissey, Jason Cleere 0-2 each, Aidan Cleere, Kevin Blanchfield, Liam Blanchfield, Robert Lennon, Sean Morrissey 0-1 each.
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS: Dean Mason; Conor Walsh, Joey Holden, Brian Butler; Evan Shefflin, Michael Fennelly (captain), Darren Mullen; Ronan Corcoran, Richie Reid; Brian Cody, T.J. Reid, Adrian Mullen; Eoin Cody, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Reid.
Subs: Mark Aylward for E. Reid, Paddy Mullen for D. Mullen, Joey Cuddihy for E. Cody, Bob Aylward for B.Cody, Gavin Butler for Shefflin.
BENNETTSBRIDGE: Enda Cleere; Conor Murphy, Robert Lennon, Cormac Wafer; Enda Morrissey, Jason Cleere, Darragh Wafer; Kevin Blanchfield, David Blanchfield; Aidan Cleere, Brian Lannon, Nicky Cleere; Dylan Walsh, Liam Blanchfield, Sean Morrissey.
Sub: Danny Coyne for Walsh.