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29th Oct 2023

Paddy Deegan scores sensational late point to end Ballyhale Shamrocks’ reign in Kilkenny

Niall McIntyre

O’Loughlin Gaels 0-20 Ballyhale Shamrocks 0-19

Paddy Deegan scored a sensational winning score as O’Loughlin Gaels defeated Ballyhale Shamrocks to win the Kilkenny SHC final by one point.

The Shamrocks were in pursuit of a sixth championship in a row but O’Loughlin Gaels denied them, winning their first county title since 2016.

Paddy Deegan was the O’Loughlin Gaels hero, scoring a tremendous point from the sideline three minutes into injury-time and from there, the city club held out for a memorable win.

Former Kilkenny hurler Brian Hogan managed his home club to the title, and after the game, he referenced the team’s conditioning and their impact off the bench as big factors in their win.

“I can barely speak,” Hogan told Clubber.

“We knew we’d have to hurl to our maximum. But we knew we had it in us.

“We focused and got ourselves right,” he added.

Indeed, the bench did make a huge impact for O’Loughlin Gaels in the closing minutes, with both Conor Kelly and Luke Hogan coming onto notch crucial late points.

The underdogs had started the brighter, haring into a 0-4 0-1 lead with Jack Nolan and Mark Bergin prominent in the early stages but Pat Hoban’s Shamrocks regained parity and the teams went in deadlocked at 0-10 apiece at the break.

In a game refereed by Peter Burke from the Emeralds’ club, frees were typically hard-to-come-by but whenever the chances did arrive, Mark Bergin was deadly. He ended his afternoon having scored seven out of nine placed balls. TJ Reid, meanwhile, missed a crucial late free just before Deegan’s winner.

“They’re the best team in Ireland, and we knew we’d have to stay going for 60/65 minutes,” said captain Mark Bergin after the game.

“Kilkenny hurling needed this,” added Richie Power, who was on punditry duty alongside Paul Murphy and Clubber host Mick Linehan.

“Fair play to O’Loughlins, they were going as strong at the end as they were in the beginning, their conditioning was superb,” added Power.

But it was all about Deegan.

“I ended up in the right position,” he told Clubber afterwards.

“I was happy I got on the end of one today.”

“And the boys will have to listen to me going on about it for a while now,” he added.

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