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GAA Beo Sunday, 27th September, 14:00 – Live coverage of the Kilkenny Hurling Final. Presented by Micheál Ó Domhnaill.
A fascinating Kilkenny SHC decider beckons at UPMC Nolan Park on Sunday. Reigning All-Ireland and Kilkenny champions Ballyhale take on city slickers Dicksboro.
The Boro were first to grab a place in the September 27th encounter. They emerged from a dogfight with when city rivals O’Loughlin Gaels by 2-16 to 0-14.
In a tight first half, there was nothing between the teams. The two teams had met in the league final, which went to penalties. The first half saw the teams level on 0-8 apiece after 30 minutes. Shane Stapleton was on fire. He hit five points, including two from sideline cuts.
Dicksboro took over in the second half. Aidan Nolan danced through for a goal from a tight angle. O’Loughlin’s could not quite force their way back into a hard-hitting contest. Cillian Buckley and Ollie Walsh were the rock many an O’Loughlin Gaels attack floundered on. Dicksboro landed a knock-out blow when Shane Stapleton cut through the Gaels defense, to hammer home an unstoppable shot in the final ten minutes.
Dicksboro players to watch
The lively Billy Sheehan and Shane Stapleton will provide plenty of headaches for the Ballyhale rearguard. At the back, Cillian Buckley is back to his best and Ollie Walsh is also in fine form.
Dicksboro expected team
1. Darragh Holohan 2. Conor Fitzpatrick 3. Evan Cody 4. Evan Carroll 5. Ollie Walsh
6. Cillian Buckley 7. Tom Kenny 8. Chris Kavanagh 9. Robbie Fitzpatrick 10. Liam Moor 11. Shane Stapleton 12. Aidan Nolan 13. Bill Sheehan 14. Eoin Gough – captain 15. Mark Nolan
Path to final (Knock-out stages)
Quarter-final Saturday 5th Sep 2020 UPMC Nowlan Park
Dicksboro 3-27 2-14 Bennettsbridge.
Saturday 12th Sep 2020 St Canice’s Credit Union (Kilkenny) SHC Semi-Final UPMC Nowlan Park
Dicksboro 2-16 0-14 O`Loughlin Gaels
Ballyhale joined Dicksboro in the final, but the reigning champions were made to work hard to get there. The Shamrocks looked unstoppable early on against James Stephens in their semi-final encounter. Two goals scored in lightning quick time by Tj Reid (penalty) and Fennelly, saw them take a commanding lead 2-8 to 0-6 after 22 minutes. The Village showed great character to fight back. lead by the inspired Eoin Guilfoyle, they shot nine points in a row to lead by a point at the break (0-15 to 2-8).
It was nip and tuck all the way to the finish after that. In the end, late points from TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly helped the champions home. They prevailed on a 3-22 to 1-26, scoreline, thus keeping their hopes of a third-straight county title alive.
Ballyhale key players
Kilkenny stalwarts TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly need no introduction. Eoin Cody has emerged as a real talent and Joey Holden will marshall the defense suberbly.
Expected Ballyhale team
D Mason; P Mullen; J Holden, B Butler; D Corcoran, R Reid, D Mullen; E Shefflin, R Corcoran; B Cody, TJ Reid, J Cuddihy; E Reid, C Fennelly, E Cody.
Path to final (Knock-out stages)
Sunday 6th Sep 2020
St Canice’s Credit Union (Kilkenny) SHC Quarter-Final UPMC Nowlan Park
Clara 0-11 4-18 Shamrocks Ballyhale
Saturday 12th Sep 2020
St Canice’s Credit Union (Kilkenny) SHC Semi-Finals UPMC Nowlan Park
Shamrocks Ballyhale 3-22 1-27 James Stephens
The battle of the 2017 and the 2020 champions is expected to go to the wire. Ballyhale has mixed the good with the bad. A draw with Tullaroan and a loss to O’Loughlins raise questions. They were fortunate to beat the ‘Village’ courtesy of a controversial late free. Dicksboro are a strong physical side, and they can be relied upon not to freeze on the big day. The All-Ireland champions, however, are a big game team and can be expected to deliver on the big stage once again.
Verdict Ballyhale Shamrocks
Did you know?
Ballyhale went 15 years: without winning the title in the ’90s. (1991-2006)
Dicksboro went 43 years without a title: (1950-1993)
Ballyhale are odds on as expected with all the major bookmaking firms.
Best price (Paddy Power odds )
Ballyhale Shamrocks 2/5
Check out the Ballyhale build up on their Twitter feed
Check out the Dicksboro build-up on their Twitter account