AIB club SHC final: Ballyhale end Portumna's reign

March 17, 2010

Portmuna's Joe Canning goes flying with James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick and Bob Aylward of Ballyhale Shamrocks in control during the AIB ALl-Ireland club SHC final at Croke Park
Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-19
Portumna (Galway) 0-17

A superb display from defence to attack ensured Ballyhale Shamrock's claimed a roll of honour topping fifth AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling title at Croke Park this afternoon.

Henry Shefflin fired nine points, from 12 scoring attempts, but it was Joe Canning who won the scoring battle of the freetakers as the Portumna full-forward fired over 12 points.

But Canning failed to have it all his way in a game where Ballyhale's excellent defensive display provided the main talking point.

Under-fire from the off, with Portumna eager for early goals; Michael Fennelly's charges battened down the hatches, with superb displays from Man of the Match Alan Cuddihy; full-back Aidan Cummins and captain Eamonn Walsh in the opening quarter.

Ballyhale drew first blood on the score-sheet as midfielder James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick slotted over the first of his two points - but Portumna were quick to press with Ballyhale quickly forced on the defensive.

Cuddihy made a superb clearance in the second minute, before Canning was afforded a goal opportunity, but despite rounding Cummins and Padraig Holden - the Ballyhale goalmouth wasn't to be broken.

Canning and Damian Hayes continued to press hard at the Ballyhale rear-guard, but to no award, with Portumna restricted to just one point in the opening quarter - a ninth minute Joe Canning free as Ballyhale raced 0-6 to 0-1 clear.

A Patrick Reid point extended their lead to six points by the 16th minute, and although Canning and Hayes helped edge Portumna back into contention, the three-in-a-row title chasers trailed by 0-11 to 0-5 at the interval.

Ballyhale drew first blood in the second half with a superbly executed sideline cut from TJ Reid for his third point of the game, but Portumna rallied.

Canning slotted over four of the first six points of the second half to cut the deficit on a 0-13 to 0-9 score-line in the 37th minute.

Portumna continued to pressurise Ballyhale Shamrocks, and showed greater precision in attack, but were unable to claim the goal they so dearly craved.

Johnny Kelly's side came closest in the 39th minute, with Niall and Damien Hayes pressing hard.

Ballyhale Shamrocks opened up a six-point lead with 16 minutes remaining, and despite Canning and Martin Dolphin claiming points it got worse for Portumna in the final quarter.

Portumna goalkeeper Ivan Canning will certainly have nightmares, after he failed to make a clearance to his brother Ollie, which resulted in the only goal of the hour.

David Hoyne was on hand to take advantage of Canning's mistake, as he poked the ball to the net in the Davin Stand end to push his side 1-16 to 0-12 in front.

A Portumna recovery looked unlikely, and despite the best efforts of Joe Canning and Andy Smith - Ballyhale always held that extra edge as they held out for their first All-Ireland victory since 2007.

After the game GAA President Christy Cooney presented the Tommy Moore Cup to winning captain Eamonn Walsh - the fifth Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman to receive the prestigious silverware at Croke Park.

Ballyhale Shamrocks - J Connolly; A Cuddihy, A Cummins, P Holden; P Shefflin, E Walsh, B Aylward; J Fitzpatrick, M Fennelly; C Fennelly (0-02), H Shefflin (0-09, 7f's), TJ Reid (0-03, 1 sideline); E Reid (0-03), P Reid (0-01), D Hoyne (1-01). Subs: J Holden for M Fennelly (47); M Aylward (0-01) for P Reid (49)

Portumna - I Canning; A O'Donnell, E McEntee, O Canning; G Heagney, M Ryan, P Smith (0-01); L Smith, E Lynch; N Hayes, K Hayes, A Smith (0-01); D Hayes (0-02), J Canning (0-12, 6f, 1 65), M Dolphin (0-01). Subs: C Ryan for McEntee (12-14mins Blood sub); C Ryan for N Hayes (41);

Ref - Cathal McAlister (Cork)

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