All-Ireland champions Ballyhale stunned in Kilkenny first round
Fresh off another All-Ireland triumph and with a host of big names lining out, Ballyhale Shamrocks were stunned this afternoon.
Down in Kilkenny, reputation only gets you so far.
Clara 2-22, Ballyhale 3-15
Ballyhale went into their Kilkenny Senior Hurling League [part of the county's championship] clash against Clara with just about all their leading lights. Only Michael Fennelly was sitting out.
Three weeks ago, Shamrocks were being hailed from all parts of Croke Park after they claimed the All-Ireland. On Saturday, Liam Ryan and James Bergin were the architects of their downfall.
Ryan was exceptional in midfield, with a number of points from play, while Bergin (a Kilkenny U20 panellist) was nailing frees and scoring a very clever goal.
Ballyhale rallied in the closing stages and TJ Reid netted a late penalty but Clara held on to take a significant scalp.
Bennetsbridge 2-20, James Stephens 2-18
Last year's beaten finalists were driven on by young St Kieran's College star Ciaran Brennan.
Liam Blanchfield and Sean Morrissey got the goals for Bennetsbridge and they were good value for their two-point win.
Ballygunner 2-26, Clonea 0-18
Down in Waterford, Peter Hogan and Barry O'Sullivan found the net for Ballygunner as the beaten All-Ireland semi finalists got off to a steady start.