Ballyhale Shamrocks too good for St Martin's
AIB Leinster club senior hurling championship semi-final
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS (KILKENNY) 5-19 ST MARTIN'S (WEXFORD) 1-16
By Paul Keane at UPMC Nowlan Park, Kilkenny
Newly crowned All-Star TJ Reid helped himself to a stunning 2-14 as holders Ballyhale Shamrocks marched confidently through to the AIB Leinster club hurling final.
Brian Cody's opening goal inside 20 seconds set the All-Ireland champions on their way at UPMC Nowlan Park and they added four more majors over the hour.
Kilkenny captain TJ Reid grabbed two of them while Eoin Reid and Colin Fennelly also hit goals in what was Ballyhale's 15th provincial win from 17 outings since their landmark 2006 Kilkenny title.
They will play Rathdowney-Errill or St Mullins in the Leinster final at the end of the month and will be hot favourites to make it 10 provincial titles.
St Martin's, who recently claimed their fourth Wexford title on the 20th anniversary of their maiden win, were seeking just a second ever win in the provincial championship.
Their one and only win in Leinster came at their first attempt in 1999, when they beat Kilmessan of Meath, but there was more hardship waiting for them this time.
The game was only 18 seconds old when Ballyhale worked a move up through the centre of the St Martin's defence before playing in Brian Cody who netted from the right.
Eoin Cody, destroyer of Clonkill in the quarter-finals with 3-4, added a point and still 60 seconds hadn't been played.
TJ Reid converted a free and Richie Reid drilled one over from long range and suddenly the favourites were 1-3 to 0-0 ahead.
Things already looked ominous for St Martin's and while they improved a little in scoring terms approaching half-time, they operated for long spells in Ballyhale's slipstream.
TJ Reid was in strong form and helped himself to 1-8 in the opening half alone as the nine-time provincial winners hit the interval with a commanding 2-12 to 0-7 lead.
Reid's goal came in the 26th minute when he converted a penalty following a foul on Colin Fennelly.
The same player was hauled down again a minute later though this time Reid changed sides with his penalty, opting to go to the 'keeper's left, and struck just wide.
It hardly mattered in the overall scheme of things as St Martin's were painfully unable to penetrate the Ballyhale defence at the other end.
They scored just three first-half points from open play and all of those - from Jake Firman and Jack O'Connor, two - were long range efforts.
Ex-Wexford football star Ciaran Lyng was in the Martin's full-forward line but got precious little service while Young Hurler of the Year nominee Rory O'Connor, available after suspension, was relatively quiet.
It didn't get much better for Martin's in the second-half with Fennelly playing in Eoin Reid for a 43rd minute goal and then netting himself seconds later with an improvised finish to beat the advancing 'keeper.
TJ Reid got the goal from play his performance deserved in the 48th minute when he rounded the 'keeper down the right and converted from a tight angle, Ballyhale's fifth.
Shefflin ran in his full allocation of subs as Ballyhale went through the motions in the closing quarter, Martin's having the final say with a goal from Michael Codd in the third minute of stoppage time.
Ballyhale Shamrocks scorers: TJ Reid 2-14 (1-0 pen, 0-11f, 0-1 s/l), Colin Fennelly 1-0, Eoin Reid 1-0, Brian Cody 1-0, Eoin Cody 0-2, Richie Reid 0-2, Adrian Mullen 0-1.
St Martin's scorers: Joe Coleman 0-9 (0-9f), Michael Codd 1-0, Jack O'Connor 0-2, Harry O'Connor 0-2, Jake Firman 0-1, Darren Codd 0-1, Rory O'Connor 0-1.
Ballyhale Shamrocks: Dean Mason; Darragh Corcoran, Joey Holden, Darren Mullen; Evan Shefflin, Michael Fennelly, Conor Phelan; Ronan Corcoran, Richie Reid; Adrian Mullen, TJ Reid, Brian Cody; Eoin Reid, Eoin Cody, Colin Fennelly. Subs: Joey Cuddihy for Adrian Mullen (37), Conor Walsh for Ronan Corcoran (46), Gavin Butler for Richie Reid (50), Eoin Kenneally for Eoin Reid (51), Mark Aylward for Eoin Cody (53).
St Martin's: Luke White; Joe O'Connor, Conor Firman, Eoin O'Leary; Daithi Waters, Aaron Maddock, Patrick O'Connor; Harry O'Connor, Michael Codd; Jake Firman, Jack O'Connor, Joe Coleman; Ciaran Lyng, Rory O'Connor, Mikey Coleman. Subs: Darren Codd for Mikey Coleman (36), Mark Moloney for Jake Firman (46), Jack Devereux for Patrick O'Connor (58).
Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).