Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ballyhale sent packing in weekend of club shocks

TJ Reid: bagged a late goal but Ballyhale still made their exit
TJ Reid: bagged a late goal but Ballyhale still made their exit

Michael Verney

it was a weekend of club shocks as reigning All-Ireland club hurling champions Ballyhale Shamrocks, four-time winners Portumna and Kerry football aristocrats Dr Crokes were all sent packing.

Mark Bergin was in sparkling form, hitting 1-9 for O'Loughlin Gaels, with Mark Kelly and former county star Martin Comerford also contributing handsomely, as they dethroned Ballyhale by 2-15 to 2-13.

Shamrocks didn't give in, however, with TJ Reid and sub Bob Aylward hitting late goals, but the city side survived, denying Henry Shefflin a possible seventh county title.

They are joined by 2013 champions, Clara, who dominated 2014 intermediate kingpins Mullinavat, a win that ensures brothers Keith and Brian Hogan will face off in two weeks' time.

Hogan hit 1-5, while the Ryan brothers - Liam and Lester - scored 11 points between them to set up a rematch of last year's quarter-final, which Clara edged by two points.

In a repeat of last year's Galway decider, Gort continued their recent dominance over Portumna, with Gerry Quinn's second-half goal proving crucial in their quarter-final win.

But controversy reigned as St Thomas' and Loughrea finished level in Kenny Park in Athenry. Referee Ger O'Connor blew the full-time whistle as James Regan's effort flew over the bar.

The point would have given Thomas' the victory, but instead it was overruled and the sides must meet again, while Craughwell edged Liam Mellows in the other last-eight tie.

The finalists are now known in Tipperary after reigning champions Thurles Sarsfields were six-point winners over Kilruane McDonagh's, with former Tipp star Pa Bourke hitting 1-8 in another impressive display.

Their opponents will be Nenagh éire óg after they overcame Seamus Callanan's Drom-Inch in a thrilling encounter, with Daire Quinn hitting the winning score in the dying seconds of extra-time.

In Dublin, Cuala are one step closer to bridging a 21-year gap, with David Treacy in sublime form as they beat Ballyboden St Enda's after 60 minutes of absorbing SHC semi-final action at Parnell Park.

Paul Ryan hit an astonishing 1-17 for 'Boden, but Cuala were not to be denied, while Lucan Sarsfields booked their last-four spot with a whopping 3-18 to 1-5 replay win over O'Toole's.

Elsewhere, the club football scene in Kerry was given a radical shake up, with 2011-2013 Munster champions Dr Crokes biting the dust after falling to Aidan O'Mahony's Rathmore.

The result means Crokes will not represent Kerry in the provincial club series, with Rathmore, their semi-final opponents Killarney Legion and Kerry senior club champions Dingle the only candidates left.

Rathmore maintained their recent stranglehold over Crokes, with John Moynihan and Dean Fitzgerald hitting the all-important goals in their 2-15 to 1-13 win.

Legion, for whom 2014 Footballer of the Year James O'Donoghue struck a hat-trick, overcame David Moran's Kerins O'Rahillys, while South Kerry will face Kenmare District.

Kenmare secured their first semi-final place since 1987, with a 1-15 to 0-11 win over West Kerry.

South Kerry beat Kilcummin despite losing Killian Young to injury and both Brendan O'Sullivan, who hit four points, and Bryan Sheehan to red cards, after picking up two yellows each.

In the west, Aidan O'Shea was at his best as Breaffy upset reigning champions Ballintubber in the Mayo SFC semi-finals.

O'Shea hit 2-1, while also winning a penalty, as they defeated Cillian O'Connor's side, but he also received his marching orders late in the game after two bookable offences.

They will meet 2014 All-Ireland finalists Castlebar Mitchels after they beat Knockmore 4-15 to 2-12, with Eoghan O'Reilly, and Mayo star Barry Moran among the goals.

Much like Kilkenny, this means brothers will be in opposite corners as Tommy and Eoghan O'Reilly will collide once again, after initially facing each other in the 2013 decider.

Irish Independent

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