AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship Final – Ballysaggart (Waterford) 5-12 Creggan Kickhams (Antrim) 2-21

Ballysaggart (Waterford) and Creggan Kickhams (Antrim) finished level after extra time in the AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Hurling Championship Final on Saturday February 8th at Croke Park – final scoreline – Ballysaggart (Waterford) 5-12 Creggan Kickhams (Antrim) 2-21

Ballysaggart and Creggan inseparable in Junior final

Report from the web site 

AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Club Final: Ballysaggart 5-12 Kickhams Creggan 2-21 (AET)

Ballysaggart and Creggan will have to replay the All-Ireland Club Hurling Junior final after even extra-time couldn’t separate them in an enthralling game at Croke Park on Saturday. After trailing by nine points at half-time, Antrim and Ulster champions Creggan came back to draw level and they pushed ahead in the additional 20 minutes, only for a late goal to rescue Waterford’s Ballysaggart. Creggan’s Oran and Conor McCann hit 1-14 between them, but this were outdone by Ballysaggart’s Stephen and Shane Bennett, who managed 5-7 in total.

The teams shared six points evenly in a frantic opening five minutes, with Stephen Bennett, Ronan Walsh and Daniel Devine on target for Ballysaggart and Conor McCann (two) and Oran McCann replying for Creggan. Ballysaggart struck the first crucial blow when a Stephen Bennett free squeezed into the net in the ninth minute and although Kevin Rice and Conor McCann hit back with points, Ballysaggart soon had a second major through Shane Bennett.

Creggan’s only point of the second quarter came from Rice as their finishing let them down, while Stephen Bennett was clinical at the other end, as he added three more points before having another free deflected into the net to make it 3-6 to 0-6 to Ballysaggart at half-time.

Stephen Bennett got the first score of the second half, but Creggan were now growing into the game and Conor McCann and Rice both had shots saved before Conor Small netted to kick-start their challenge. Oran McCann and Stephen Bennett swapped points from long-range frees, before Oran and Conor McCann cut the gap further with fine scores from play.

Like Creggan in the first half, Ballysaggart were now struggling for scores, with a Stephen Bennett free providing only a brief respite. A foul on Small allowed Conor McCann to rifle a penalty home ten minutes from time and although a Ronan Walsh point left two between them, Matthew Nelson responded and the electric Conor McCann powered over a free from the half-way line with the last puck, making the score Ballysaggart 3-10 Creggan 2-16 at the end of the 60 minutes.

An Oran McCann brace got Creggan up and running in extra-time, but a speculative Shane Bennett effort went all the way to the net to edge Ballysaggart ahead again. Oran and Conor McCann struck before the change of ends, however, to make it 2-17 to 4-10 in favour of Creggan.

Points by Ryan (two), James Carey and Ruairí McCann pushed Creggan further clear after the restart, but Kieran Bennett and Kenneth Cashell kept Ballysaggart within striking distance, and there was time for one last twist, as a Stephen Bennett flick from an high ball completed his hat-trick and more importantly, sent this tie to a replay.

Scorers for Ballysaggart: Stephen Bennett 2-7 (2-5f), Shane Bennett 3-0, R Walsh 0-2, D Devine 0-1, K Bennett 0-1, K Cashell 0-1.

Scorers for Creggan: C McCann 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), O McCann 0-8 (4f, 1 ’65), K Rice 0-4, C Small 1-0, J Carey 0-1, R McCann 0-1, M Nelson 0-1.

Ballysaggart: M Meagher; B Ryan, K Fennessy, C O’Gorman; B Murphy, E O’Brien, D Devine; C Murphy, K Bennett; Shane Bennett, D Meagher, K Cashell; R Walsh, Stephen Bennett, T Bennett. Subs: M Kearney for Fennessy (34)

Temporary sub: M Kearney for C Murphy (26-27). Subs in extra-time: S Hale for Kearney (5), S Meagher for T Bennett (H-T), C Fitzgerald for Devine (14).

Creggan: B Penter; B Maguire, A Maguire, T McCann; D McCann, M Johnston, D Carey; R McCann, A McKeown; K Rice, O McCann, C McCann; S Maguire, J Dougan, C Small. Subs: J Carey for Dougan (27), M Nelson for D McCann (37).

Referee: Christy Brown (Galway)