Conway a cut above as he hits late Lixnaw leveller
Ballyduff 2-15 Lixnaw 1-18
It was probably the right result for most neutrals as a late sideline cut from the brilliant 19-year-old Lixnaw marksman Shane Conway ensured his side got a second bite of the cherry against a Ballyduff side who must have thought they had annexed their 25th SHC title after a thrilling final in Tralee.
It was one of the best finals of recent years with two outstanding individual displays by Ballyduff's Pádraig Boyle, who lit up the afternoon with 2-11, and the precocious Shane Conway, whose personal haul was 1-10.
Conway's third-minute goal separated the sides early on, but Ballyduff soon got on top with Boyle scoring points from all angles and he then smashed home a 12th-minute goal, set up by brother Aidan.
Brendan Brosnan, Shane Conway and his brother Michael kept Lixnaw in touch as Pádraig Boyle had 1-6 on the board before Jack O'Sullivan scored the only non-Boyle first-half point as the sides retired at 1-8 apiece at the interval.
The second half was end-to-end stuff with some excellent scores, but Ballyduff made an explosive start with two long-range Pádraig Boyle frees and then in the 34th minute Aidan Boyle set up brother Pádraig, whose shot was parried by PJ O'Gorman but he could not prevent the ball from drifting over the goal-line.
Ballyduff led by three with six minutes left but Shane Conway saved the day with points from a free, a '65 and then that sideline cut that levelled this thriller and ensured the sides will meet again this Sunday, with the football decider taking place the following Sunday.
SCORERS - Ballyduff: P Boyle 2-11 (1-0 pen, 1 '65, 4f), J Goulding 0-2, J O'Sullivan and M Boyle 0-1 each. Lixnaw: S Conway 1-10 (5f, 1 '65, 1 s-l), M Conway 0-2, B Brosnan (f), J Griffin, B McAuliffe, J Buckley, R Galvin, J McKenna 0-1 each.
BALLYDUFF - PJ O'Gorman; A O'Connor, P O'Grady, C Kearney; D Goulding, P Costello, E Ross; D O'Carroll, A O'Carroll; P O'Carroll, A Boyle, J O'Sullivan; P Boyle, M Boyle, J Goulding.
Subs: L Boyle for P O'Carroll (h-t), G O'Brien for A Boyle (52), T Slattery for J O'Sullivan (52), A Boyle for L Boyle (59).
LIXNAW - M Stackpoole; D McCarthy, P Corridan, G Stackpoole; B Brosnan, S Power, C O'Keeffe; J Griffin, B McAuliffe; J Buckley, R Heffernan, R Galvin; J McKenna, M Conway, S Conway. Subs: D Shanahan for G Stackpoole (24), J Wallace for R Heffernan (h-t), J Flaherty for R Galvin (47), C Sheehy for J McKenna (56)
REF - J Murphy (Limerick)