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Rampant Reid rides to rescue as Shamrocks create history

 

Just when you sensed that momentum had tilted in favour of Borris-Ileigh, TJ Reid re-entered the story of yesterday's AIB All-Ireland Club senior hurling final.

And a few minutes later, Ballyhale Shamrocks were record-shredding back-to-back champions.​

"A magical day," declared skipper Michael Fennelly after this three-point victory elevated Shamrocks into a pantheon of one.​

The first club to amass eight All-Irelands in either code, edging ahead of the seven won by Nemo Rangers in football, they also became the first Kilkenny champions to retain the Tommy Moore Cup.​

And Henry Shefflin, the player who couldn't stop breaking records, is now the manager who can't stop winning.​

Yet, as the clock hit 58 minutes, all that was still in the melting pot. The pretenders to Ballyhale's throne had just reeled off four unanswered points in a four-minute flurry that had transformed a seemingly straightforward coronation into a two-point game.​

Borris, having squandered an abundance, suddenly couldn't miss. Jerry Kelly had cut the deficit to two with the most outrageous of his magnificent seven points, taking a pass from Dan McCormack and then selling Darren Mullen a sublime dummy before bisecting the uprights.​

Brendan Maher, so often the home straight catalyst during this epic Borris campaign, had again come strong in the preceding minutes. He had pointed from either touchline, assisted Kelly for his sixth score and then landed his second from play.​

So, when Kelly followed up with his seventh point, the holders could have been forgiven for peering into the wing-mirror.​

Re-enter TJ the talisman. Reid's penchant for delivering when the need is greatest has long pre-dated this, his fifth successful All-Ireland Club final appearance. He had already produced a hugely influential first half to propel the south Kilkenny men into a four-point lead.​

Now, once again, Ballyhale were craving his inspired intervention and, straight from the next puck-out, Reid raced onto a short pass from Eoin Cody to restore a three-point cushion.​

His next intervention was more inspirational: driving hard at the Borris defence, Reid was fouled once and then, with referee Colm Lyons playing advantage, fouled again. Reid picked himself up to convert his fifth free, his eighth point in total.​

In the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup, Queen's were well beaten by DCU, while St Mary's lost out 2-10 to 2-6 to UCD after extra-time.

Belfast Telegraph