TJ Reid says Ballyhale Shamrocks are running out of lifelines after his dramatic rescue act kept them on track for an unprecedented All-Ireland club hurling three-in-a row.
Reid’s penalty conversion and goal from a 22-metre free with almost the last play turned Sunday’s semi-final with St Thomas’ in their favour.
But up to that their performance had been well below the standards they have set for themselves and Reid has suggested complacency may have played its part.
“We’re going a long time and maybe (we were) a little bit complacent going into it,” he said. “Everybody was talking about Ballyhale and Ballygunner in the final. You can block it out as much as you want but it does creep in a small bit and even if it does creep in for one per cent, it’s still enough to damage the whole team. And that was going around this week. Even before (our) game, I saw lads watching the game (other semi-final between Ballygunner and Slaughtneil) on their phones.
“So this now, 60 minutes, is do or die and I’m sure it’ll be an exceptional game. Ballygunner will be coming with huge motivation because I know for a fact down there, county finals to them, they’re after winning eight-in-a-row so I’ve no doubt that an All-Ireland final is the end goal and they’re coming big time.”
Ballyhale’s proximity to the Waterford border adds to the interest, Reid says, as does the fact that the Mahony brothers, Philip, Pauric, Michael and Kevin, are related to him..
“I’ve a few cousins on the team, the Mahonys, so we know them very well. O’Sullivan, all those boys as well. A very nice club and a very big club so it’s up to ourselves now to get ourselves right because our performance wasn’t good enough and it nearly fell apart in the end. We’re after getting two massive frights which was the Leinster semi-final and then this. I don’t think we’ve too many lifelines left.”
Ballyhale were only 30 seconds from exit against St Rynagh’s when Eoin Cody came up with a late goal on that occasion to force extra-time from where they picked up to reach the Leinster final.