STATISTICS dominated as Ballyhale Shamrocks saw off the challenge of James Stephens in the county senior hurling final at UPMC Nowlan Park.
To mark half a century of their club the Shamrocks battled to land a fifth crown in a row and a 20th overall.
Despite a few hiccups almost everything went honky dory as the hurling aristocrats proved too good for the Stephens even though they lost Paddy Mullen five minutes into the second half when Paddy was red carded for a wild swing.
To their credit, Stephens fought bravely but wasteful shooting didn’t help their cause.
However their tally included two fine goals and excellent points but Shamrocks was never idle and when the chips were down the team oiled its hurling machine and cranked up the engine.
Ballyhale eventually eased towards victory but with little time left on the Nowlan Park clock a shot cannoned off a left upright, a James Stephens effort could so easily have led to a goal and a squeaky bum finish to a rain-soaked tie that attracted a crowd of 5,000 plus.
It turned out to be business as usual for Shamrocks who no doubt partied in Andy’s Bar but in fairness it has been a good end of season too for Stephens that had a woeful league campaign.
Then came a renaissance that led to runner-up in the county. Respectability was restored.
The latter won’t satisfy the aficionados of James Stephens but it could lead to a good take off in 2022-2023.