Ballyhale Shamrocks (@1.33) vs James Stephens (@3.75)

Our Prediction:

Ballyhale Shamrocks will win

Ballyhale Shamrocks – James Stephens Match Prediction | 27-10-2019 11:00

Gaelic Games had been played in the parish of Ballyhale long before the Shamrocks club was established. The club adopted as its logo a three-leaf shamrock with the letters K, B and K, representing the three clubs that had existed in the parish, inserted on each leaf. The Ballyhale Shamrocks colours are green and white. Because of the situation facing both clubs they decided to amalgamate in 1972 under the new name of Ballyhale Shamrocks. The club won the Kilkenny Junior Hurling Championship in 1973 before claiming the Kilkenny Intermediate Hurling Championship title in 1974, a victory which allowed Ballyhale Shamrocks to play in the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship. A third club, Knockmoylan, had ceased to exist at some time in 1959. Success for the new Shamrocks club was instant. By the early 1970s there were two competing clubs in existence in the parish, Ballyhale and Knocktopher, however, they were both facing extinction.

A close game ensued, however, at the full-time whistle Ballyhale were the winners by 211 to 012. The Shamrocks defeated near neighbours, Carrickshock in the championship semi-final on a scoreline of 121 to 011, setting up a repeat of the 2005 final with old rivals James Stephens. It was their third consecutive county title. They have also overcome the intermediate champions of last year, Clara in the championship quarter final on a scoreline of 319 to 010.

Eoin Cody blasted a close-range goal, before three Reid points levelled the game with little over five minutes left. They stayed ahead after the restart but as their scores dried up, the Shamrocks fought back. It was a result Bennettsbridge were left to rue. They impressed in the opening half, with Nicky Cleere and Liam Blanchfield leading the way while a Jason Cleere penalty goal helped them go in four ahead at the break (1-10 to 0-9).

Aylward; J. "Cha" Fitzpatrick, M. Valentine's Day in Thurles. The club have won through to their 6th Club All Ireland final by defeating Newtownshandrum on a score of 019 to 017, in a very tight, hard-fought contest on St. Patrick's Day in Croke Park. Walsh (capt.), B. Reid, P. The match was played on St. Fennelly; C. Fennelly, H. Reid, D. Connolly; A. Ballyhale won 119 to 017 with Henry Shefflin hitting 9 points. The team was; J. Holden; P.Shefflin, E. Cuddihy, A.Cummins, P. Shefflin, TJ Reid; E. This result meant a repeat of 2008 semi-final against Galway champions Portumna.

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The Village took over in the last ten minutes to record a comprehensive eight-point victory. The club regained the League title with a six-point victory over old foes, James Stephen's. The loss of Fennelly seemed to unsettle the Shamrocks more than the loss of Tyrell to James Stephens. The final matchup was the fourth meeting in six years with James Stephen's. The senior squad then won through to the County Final after a very tough schedule that paired them against neighbours Carrickshock in the quarter-final, it took a second match to separate the sides after Carrickshock needed a late free (converted by Ritchie Power) after Carrickshock had been in control for large parts of the match. The Shamrocks hurled well but were nearly unsettled by a late scoring burst from O'Loughlin's. The weather conditions for the replay were slightly improved, one of the main turning points in the match was an excellent 'solo' goal by top Village marksman, Eoin Larkin just before half-time. The other major talking point was the dismissal of inter-county colleagues, Colin Fennelly (second yellow) and Jackie Tyrell (red card) for an altercation ten minutes into the second half. In the replay the Shamrocks performance greatly improved and they finally shook off the challengers. The first day ended in a draw with both sides having to deal with the elements, the game played in a bitterly cold gale with driving rain throughout. It did not get any easier at the semi-final stage, with the beaten All Ireland club finalists waiting.

The hard work of a first half proved to be Graigue-Ballycallans reward as they got the better of Erins Own (Castlecomer). A flurry of early points from Eamon Egan, Conor Murphy (2) and Sean Ryan (2) gave the Sky Blues the lead, one they extended when county man Billy Ryan hit the net in the 19th minute. Declan Dunne led the Castlecomer comeback with some good points, but Ballycallan led by four at the break (1-10 to 0-9).

With additional big games coming up over the following weeks, his case might have to be managed.Graigue are the biggest scores to date in the group with 7-35. The Rower picked up things after a sluggish and timid opening against St Pats. Those for the drop down a grade will be known in five games time - barring replays in all cases. They ran hot - v Dicksboro - and cold - v the Rower - so they need to find a happy medium.On their day they have an attack that can destroy.Verdict - Graigue-BallycallanClara v James Stephens - What an interesting clash. We wish them well.Verdict - Shamrocks.Bennettsbridge v OLoughlin Gaels - The St Johns Park outfit are expected to be without veteran attacker, Martin Comerford, who is recovering after breaking a finger.If the early season experiment of playing Paddy Deegan in attack is over, then they can drive on and add to their last win, a fine effort against Clara.The Bridge have a way to go to find the form that shot them into last years county final. Erins Own appear to be enjoying a bounce after last years good championship run. Their defence has been weak.Verdict - Dicksboro.Rower-Inistioge v Erins Own - The teams at No. The season changed when Michael Fennelly returned for the championship.There is hope for Mullinavat, who will enjoy home advantage.To turn that hope into victory they will need to stifle TJ Reid, Colin Fennelly, Adrian Mullen (an injury concern), Eoin Cody and company. Even at this stage last year Shamrocks hadnt begun to show their promise. It is a little over 14 weeks since the last games were played in the Kilkenny senior and intermediate hurling leagues.For all the meaningful action that lies ahead, clubs know they are facing into the short end of the season. That is not a certainty because of a knee problem. The Rower showed a nice edge last time out when they beat Graigue-Ballycallan. A survey of senior clubs has revealed that no one has any real idea of where they stand, not even defending Kilkenny and All-Ireland champions, Ballyhale Shamrocks. Hard to know, but if The Village play to the value of their individual parts, they can do it.Verdict - James StephensBallyhale Shamrocks v Mullinavat - Shamrocks have concerns over defender, Joey Holden (knee injury). The Bridge should remember that.Verdict - OLoughlin Gaels. With the same cutting they can do it.Verdict - Rower-Inistioge.Danesfort v Graigue-Ballycallan - Great rivals over the years, even going back to their days in the junior ranks.Danesfort need to have former Hurler of the Year, Richie Hogan available. 1 and 2 in Group A. Jump 14 weeks on from here and you would be into mid-November. He is a massive player for them. The Village were awful in their opening match, but their only win was over champions, Shamrocks.How do you marry the two of those results?Clara beat 2018 finalists, Shamrocks and Bennettsbridge to get the season off to a flying start. Yet, around this time last season they found an effort that carried them to a great victory over Shamrocks, and so much further after that.Results can be fortune changers at this time in a season. That will be long past the time when most club will have kissed goodbye to season 2019.So the next two weekends, and the weeks beyond that, are crucial.The champions will be crowned in six games time. All the action will be crammed into an eight week period, with the county finals schedule for Sunday, October 27 (senior and intermediate). All are full of hope and ambition, but with training interrupted because of the inter-county action and because dozens of players spent the summer in the US, the club or clubs who can get a run going now could end up anywhere.Every club has scored at least one win, which leaves the scope for achievement wide open.The games St Patricks v Dicksboro - The Boro, champions of 2017, are hoping to have former All-Star, Cillian Buckley and Bill Sheehan available after nursing injuries.They will need to be have them against a St Pats side with an attack that can sting with Kevin Kelly, Michael and Joe Brennan, Jack Morrissey and Seoirse Kenny all capable of running up scores.St Pats opened well against the Rower but then lost their buzz.

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