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AIB Munster GAA Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter-Final – Lixnaw (Kerry) 3-11 Ballyhea (Cork) 1-14

Lixnaw (Kerry) defeated Ballyhea (Cork) by 3-11 to 1-14 in the AIB Munster GAA Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter-Final on Sunday October 26th at Mallow.

Lixnaw’s massive shock for Ballyhea

By Diarmuid Sheehan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Lixnaw (Kerry) 3-11 Ballyhea (Cork) 1-14

Lixnaw recorded a famous and unexpected victory yesterday as they saw off a highly fancied Ballyhea side in the Munster Club IHC in tough, blustery conditions in Mallow. After starting the quarter-final at a snail’s pace, the Kerrymen battled back after the break to shock the Cork champions and book a spot in the last four against Bruff.

Lixnaw were underdogs with big names like John Griffin and Paul Galvin missing due to injury, but they still gave a terrific battling display as they powered past a shell-shocked Ballyhea. Key men for the victors were the full forward pairing of Mike Conway and James Flaherty with the former slotting over four quick points in the second half cut the gap to three points while Flaherty tormented the Cork side’s defence with a host of darting runs that culminated with him scoring 2-2.

Flaherty’s first goal came on the stroke of half-time just as it looked like the Kerrymen were going in with a sizable deficit (1-10 to 1-3 at the break) while his second goal swung the game the way of the Kerry champions. Despite all of Flaherty’s heroics, it was a mistake that gave Lixnaw the belief that this could be their day when a long ball from centre back Darragh Shanahan found its way past Ballyhea net minder Mikey Browne to give Lixnaw the lead for the first time – a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Lixnaw pushed on from that goal as Ballyhea wilted under the pressure. It was clear early on Ballyhea could be facing trouble when after dominating the game with the wind to their backs but just couldn’t put Lixnaw away.

Midfielder Maurice O’Sullivan was the talisman for Ballyhea, deputising for the suspended Neil Ronan, bagging a very credible 1-7 (five frees), and while O Sullivan’s goal may have had more than a slice of luck attached — as it found its way past a disappointed David Silles in the Lixnaw goal on 27 minutes, it was just reward for a brilliant first half display. Lixnaw now move into unchartered territory as they face up to a Bruff side that will need to be at their best to stop this highly motivated side.

Scorers for Lixnaw: J Flaherty 2-2; M Conway 0-7 (four frees); D Shanahan 1-0; J Buckley, R Heffernan 0-1 each.

Ballyhea: M O’Sullivan 1-7 (five frees), J Morrissey, K Morrissey 0-2 each; D Copps, E O’Leary E Morrissey 0-1 each.

LIXNAW: D Silles; M Corridan, T McKenna, P Corridan; J Silles, D Shanahan, S Power; B Brosnan, M Quilter; J Buckley, R Heffernan, E Galvin; J McKenna, M Conway, J Flaherty
Subs: G Stackpoole for M Quilter (28), R Galvin for R Heffernan (28), J Wallace for J McKenna (37), R Heffernan for E Galvin (47), G Hogan for J Silles (52).

BALLYHEA: M Browne; O O’Sullivan, M Morrissey, A O’Connor; J Hennessy, B Coleman, T Shanahan; M O’Sullivan, D Copps; E Rea, G Morrissey, K Morrissey; J Morrissey, J O’Sullivan, E O’Leary.
Subs: E Morrissey for J O’Sullivan (half time), J McCarthy for O O’Sullivan (58).

Referee: D Fox (Clare)