Ballyea advance to Clare SHC final despite Kelly's absence

October 31, 2021

Ballyea's Aaron Griffin with Padraic Collins of Cratloe. ©INPHO/Bryan Keane.

2016 and 2018 champions Ballyea overcame the absence of their talisman Tony Kelly to see off Newmarket-on-Fergus and set up a Clare SHC final clash against Inagh-Kilnamona in two weeks' time.

With the former Hurler of the Year watching on from the sidelines as he faces a long lay-off following ankle surgery, Ballyea narrowly edged out Newmarket by 1-14 to 1-13 at Cusack Park earlier today.

An injury-time pointed free from 2013 Clare All-Ireland SHC winner Colin Ryan nudged Newmarket ahead at half-time (0-9 to 0-8) and the Blues maintained that advantage after the restart with Eoin Hayes hitting a 34th minute goal.

But, crucially, they failed to score for the final 18 minutes as Aaron Griffin fired to the net for Ballyea to make it 1-13 apiece on 50 minutes before Niall Deasy (0-8) popped over the match-winning point.

Meanwhile, Smith O’Brien's will ply their trade at senior level next year following a 0-14 to 0-12 victory over St Joseph's, Doora-Barefield in the Clare IHC final.

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