Shefflin inspires Shamrocks
November 13, 2006
Henry Shefflin heads for goal
An early goal from Opel/GPA Hurler of the Year Henry Shefflin helped Ballyhale Shamrocks on their way to a comfortable victory over 14-man Rathnure in the Leinster club hurling championship semi-final at Wexford Park.
Ballyhale's task would surely have been more difficult if Rathnure hadn't been reduced to 14 players following the dismissal of left corner back Anthony O'Connell for a wild pull on Shefflin at the end of the first quarter.
Nigel Higgins, who scored 0-4 from play, and Trevor Hogan, who registered 1-1, took the fight to Ballyhale, but Rathnure were always facing an uphill battle after the sending off.
The Kilkenny champions led by 1-8 to 0-5 at half-time, having taken the lead in the third minute through a Shefflin free. Shamrocks upped the ante after the restart and extended their advantage to 2-12 to 0-6 when Patrick Reid scored their second goal in the 41st minute, forcing the ball home at the second attempt.
Rathnure refused to lie down, however, and gave themselves a fighting chance when Hogan goaled within a minute of Reid's strike. Boosted by that score, Rathnure outscored their opponents 0-4 to 0-2 in the final quarter but Shamrocks still comfortably qualified for the final where they will meet Birr.
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