AIB Intermediate Hurling Final
Youghal 2-13 Ballina 2-10
Tipperary Intermediate hurling champions Ballina are this week coming to terms with their loss in the AIB Munster intermediate hurling final against Youghal in Mallow on Sunday by 2-13 to 2-10.
The East Cork club claimed a three-point success in the final played with former GAA President Christy Cooney their manager on the line as they savoured provincial glory.
Youghal, who had defeated Waterford’s Ardmore and Clare’s Whitegate to reach this stage, were ahead by 2-6 to 1-7 at the break after an evenly-contested first-half of action.
Ollie Dempsey gave Youghal a great start when he found the net and Brendan Ring and James O’Mahony were amongst the point scorers as they lead by 1-5 to 0-5 after the first quarter.
But Ballina bounced back with Michael Breen, an All-Ireland minor hurling winner with Tipperary last year, on target with a point and then Stephen Stritch grabbed a goal in the 18th minute.
However Youghal were in front at half-time thanks to a goal from Damien Ring which edged them two points ahead.
Ballina battled away in the second-half with Donal McKeogh firing home their second goal in the 44th minute. A point from Stephen O’Brien, another recent inter-county All-Ireland minor winner, left Ballina trailing by 2-10 to 2-9 with 13 minutes remaining.
But it was Youghal who finished stronger as they pulled clear to engineer a three-point victory. They now advance to the All-Ireland series with a quarter-final date in December against London champions St Gabriel’s set to be their first assignment.
It has been a great campaign for Ballina who will face into the 2014 season in the senior hurling grade in North Tipperary - a first for them and a chance to mix it with the big boys. They will have derived much confidence from their intermediate campaign and will hope that the experience gained will stand to them when the ball in thrown in again.