Colin Fennelly bags four goals as Henry Shefflin's Ballyhale Shamrocks book Leinster final place
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS 6-21 NAOMH EANNA 4-11
Colin Fennelly was in sensational form firing 4-4 as Henry Shefflin’s Ballyhale Shamrocks coasted past the challenge of Naomh Eanna in the Leinster SHC club semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park this afternoon.
Ballyhale weathered an early storm from the first-time Wexford champions to run out 16-point winners and move one step closer to extending their lead at the head of the Leinster roll of honour with an eighth title.
Naomi Eanna got off to a dream start with Wexford panellist Cathal Dunbar firing two beautiful goals within two minutes to send them 2-1 to 0-1 ahead but Ballyhale quickly found their feet.
TJ Reid was a calming influence as always firing four first-half points as they clawed their way back into the game before older brother Eoin hit their first goal in the 14th minute.
Fennelly followed up with his first green flag minutes later as they turned the game on its head and were three points ahead at the break, 2-9 to 2-6, with Reid closing the half with two exquisite points.
Whatever hopes Naomh Eanna had of mounting a comeback were quickly dashed with Fennelly firing two goals within 60 seconds shortly after half-time as the Kilkenny kingpins moved up a gear, 4-10 to 2-7.
Eoin Cody added another goal in the 42nd minute but Jack Cullen, Padraig Doyle and Dunbar in particular were fighting valiantly for Naomh Eanna and Cullen surged forward a minute later from half-back to score a superb goal.
Ballyhale were relentless at the other end, however, with Fennelly hitting his fourth with the full-time whistle approaching before Wexford star Conor McDonald finished proceedings with an injury-time goal from a penalty .
SCORERS – Ballyhale: C Fennelly 4-4, TJ Reid 0-6 (0-1f, 0-1 ’65), E Cody 1-1, A Mullen 0-3, E Reid 1-0, B Cody 0-2, R Corcoran, E Shefflin, R Reid, D Mullen, J Cuddihy 0-1 each.
Naomh Eanna: C Dunbar 2-3, P Doyle 0-6 (3f, 0-1 ’65), J Cullen 1-2, C McDonald 1-0 (penalty).
BALLYHALE – D Mason; E Shefflin, J Holden, B Butler; R Reid, M Fennelly, D Mullen; C Walsh, R Corcoran; A Mullen, TJ Reid, B Cody; E Reid, C Fennelly, E Cody.
Subs: M Aylward for Walsh and G Butler for E Reid (both 50), J Cuddihy for A Mullen (54), K Mullen for Butler (57), P Mullen for M Fennelly (58).
NAOMH EANNA – B Kinsella; T Stafford, B Travers, L Kinsella; J Cullen, S Doyle, E Conroy; A Doyle, G Molloy; C McGovern, P Doyle, D Hughes; D O’Brien, C McDonald, C Dunbar.
Subs: J Cushe for L Kinsella inj (21), W Cullen for Hughes (38), C Hughes for O’Brien (45)
REF – J McGrath (Westmeath)