TJ REID revealed the magic trick that saved Ballyhale – he dunked the hurdler in a bucket of water on Saturday night.
Scoring two points in stoppage time in Thurles on Sunday, 2015’s Player of the Year won a penalty at 21 yards when he was dragged down by Fintan Burke.
And Reid launched a freestyle rocket through a forest of corpses into the net to keep the King Kilkenny boots on their way to winning historic Three Ireland in a row when they met. Ballygunner on February 12-13.
Reid also blew the home team a penalty with just three minutes of normal time left to end the game 2-5.
He beamed: “It was just luck at the end of the game, the penalty and the free kick. Just pure bliss.
“Fortunately, last night I placed my obstacle course in a bucket of water just to make the hit a little heavier. I’m glad it’s put to use.
“I hit them really well. I asked the referrer what was left and he said 30 seconds. I have only one choice, to achieve the goal. Luckily, it worked. ”
St Thomas’ were ahead for most of the game and, even after Reid converted his penalty in the 57th minute, they once again established a two-point lead through a pair of prizes. launch Conor Cooney.
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Ballyhale boss James O’Connor said: “I never said it would go away when you were with Ballyhale because they did this in the semi-finals when they seemed dead and buried.
“Back in the Leinster semi-final (vs St Rynagh’s) and it was exactly the same, ten seconds ago and today no different.
“We organized there not well, sometimes we didn’t play well, but we showed our bravery at the last minute, never losing our temper, never panicking.”
St Thomas’ wanted a quick start and they certainly got it as Éanna Burke scored two points and won a free kick. The Shamrocks were missing four before their magicians took out their wands.
Reid headed home, assisting Joey Cuddihy for two more, with Eoin Cody pleasing the crowd in the middle.
The two-time youngster of the year had breakthroughs on the flanks and each time was shot while flying in fifth gear.
END TO END
With the return of additional man Davy Burke, driving the play, St Thomas’ is not waning.
Cooney shot more than six balls placed in the opening half-hour – including a superb sideball – while Éanna Burke named four.
The player then created a brilliant chance to score when he overcame the Ballyhale barrier in the 20th minute, but could not close the one-on-one chance after exchanging them with Oisín Flannery.
After a superb half-time lead on both sides, St Thomas’ held the 0-13 advantage to 0-11, dealing manly in the absence of injured defender Shane Cooney.
Ballyhale threatened to turn the game around when Reid cleared the ball into the 14th round, but a vital Bernard Burke hook saved it.
Instead, Galway’s men widened the gap to four as Darragh Burke and Cooney, with a free white flag, raised.
Patrick Mullen opened his account in the 47th minute, then the two sides traded freely, before Ballyhale got his first goal.
Darragh Corcoran bursts in and feeds Colin Fennelly, then is supervised by John Headd for round 14.
Reid found the net to level it but Thomas’ kept coming.
Cooney’s two saves in injury time appear to have won it, helping them avenge their 17-point All-Ireland final loss three years ago.
But Reid frustrated them at the last moment.
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS: D Masons; D Mullen, J Holden, K Mullen; E Shefflin, R Reid, D Corcoran; C Phelan, P Mullen 0-1; A Mullen 0-1, E Cody 0-4, B Cody; J Cuddihy 0-3, C Fennelly 0-1, TJ Reid 2-5, 1-0 pen; 1-3f. Sub: E Kenneally for Phelan 30 + 2 minutes; B Butler for K Mullen 43; C Walsh for D Mullen 55; Heal Kenneally 57.
ST THOMAS: G Kelly, C Mahony, F Burke, D Sherry; J Headd, D Burke, C Burke; E Duggan, B Burke 0-2; E Burke 0-4, C Cooney 0-11, 10f, 1 sl, J Regan 0-1; O Flannery, D Burke 0-1, B Farrell 0-1. Subs: V Manso for Farrell 47 minutes; M Caulfield for Duggan 57.
REFEREE: Rory McGann (Clare).
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/8252391/ballyhale-shamrocks-st-thomas-result-tj-reid-kilkenny-champions/ Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-15 St Thomas 0-20