Effin break Ballyduff hearts with second half flourish

AIB Munster Intermediate Club Hurling Final
Effin (Limerick) 0-14 Ballyduff 0-11 
By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
There was to be no fairytale ending for brave Ballyduff as they just came up short after a titanic struggle with Limerick champions Effin, in the AIB Munster Intermediate Club Hurling Final played before a huge crowd at Newcastle West on Sunday afternoon.

In truth, it was a game that Ballyduff could have won but on the Effin displayed tremendous resolve and fought back in the second half to out point a Ballyduff side whose radar was not working on the day and the telling stat of all was - Ballyduff won the wide count 12- 5 and it is hard to win finals of any sort when you waste that number of scoring chances in a tight game and on a heavy sod.

The turning point on this game probably was the first five minutes of the second half when Ballyduff shot three wides, one from a Bobby O'Sullivan free and two from young Padraig Boyle as Effin responded with two points to take a 0-9 to 0-8 lead, a lead they never lost.
So from being 0-8 to 0-7 in front at the break, Ballyduff found themselves a point down and they did not post a second half score until the 50th minute and by then Effin had the bit between their teeth and they were not going to let go.
However it was a mighty contest, played between two sets of warriors, not a foul stroke, and Ballyduff can hold their heads high because they left nobody down in their historic journey to a Munster Final.

Finals are won on small margins and it appeared that if this game was played on a drier sod, then Ballyduff might well be Munster Champions today, but they were beaten by a good side for whom Nickie Quaid at centre-back was simply awesome but why Ballyduff continued to direct ball down his throat, will forever remain a mystery.

Basically Effin displayed more composure in front of goal and maybe their experience last year in the Junior Championship in Limerick and Munster gave them a slight edge.

Ballyduff looked the better side for long periods of the opening half and young corner-forward Pat Joe Connolly's three points in seven minutes seeming to confirm the opinion of the odds makers that this was going to be a one-sided affair. But for some reason Ballyduff began to depart from the script and wasted valuable possession with poor shot selection and wayward shooting.

Three points by Nicky Quaid helped tie it up at 0-4 each before Ballyduff went three clear again through Mike Boyle, Barry O'Grady and Aidan Boyle.
Two frees, this time by Tommy Quaid, and one from play by Damian Moloney left a point between them at half-time, 0-8 to 0-7 in favour of the Kerry side.

A Tommy Quaid free levelled things again and Effin led for the first time thanks to a point by Timmy Rea.
Substitute Enda Kelly and a free by Tommy Quaid had Effin three in front before Mike Boyle had Ballyduff's first point of the half 10 minutes from the end and Aidan Boyle had another to leave only one between them.
However Ballyduff's wide count had reached six for the second half as Nickie Quaid, repelled the Kerry champions, time and time again. The goal that Ballyduff craved never came despite the heroic defensive play of Jason Bowler, Ally O'Connor and Paud Costello.

Two more points by Timmy Rea and another by Moloney wrapped it up for Effin. The Quaid brothers, Nicky and Tommy, John Dillon, Mike and Timmy Rea and Damian Moloney starred for Effin with Jason Bowler, Ally O'Connor, Padraig O'Grady, Mikey and Aidan Boyle and Pat Joe Connolly shining for a Ballyduff side attempting to become the first Kerry team to win a Munster hurling title.

For Effin it was glory as they celebrated after the final whistle but Ballyduff it was heartache but they will be back - Ballyduff simply know no other way!

T Quaid 0-4 frees, N Quaid 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 '65), T Rea 0-3, D Moloney 0-2, D Sheehy and E Kelly 0-1 each

M Boyle and P J Connolly 0-3 each, A Boyle 0-2, B O'Sullivan 0-2 frees, B O'Grady 0-1

Danny O'Donoghue, John P O'Donnell, John Dillon, Andrew Dillon, Michael O'Donnell, Nickie Quaid, Michael Rea, James O'Donnell, Patrick Carroll, Timmy Rea, Damien Moloney, Conor Kearney, Pierse Kelly, Tommy Quaid, Darran Sheehy
Subs: Enda Kelly for P Kelly (30), Hugh O'Neill for D Sheehy (46)

P J O'Gorman, Jason Bowler, Paud Costello, David O'Grady, Ally O'Connor, Padraig O'Grady, Liam Boyle, Bobby O'Sullivan, Barry O'Grady, Garry O'Brien, Aidan Boyle, Padraig Boyle, Pat Joe Connolly, Mikey Boyle, Anthony O'Carroll

Subs: John Paul Leahy for Anthony O'Carroll (43), David Goulding for D O'Grady (55), Thomas O'Rourke for P Boyle (58)

Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford)