Groom Shane Beston is the best man as Ballygiblin retain Munster junior title

Three first-half goals from newly married star are vital in win over Limerick's St Kieran's
Groom Shane Beston is the best man as Ballygiblin retain Munster junior title

Ballygiblin's Shane Beston who scored 3-3 against St. Kieran's the Munster junior hurling championship final at Mallow celebrates with his wife Emma Coughlan just 24 hours after their wedding in Kinsale. Picture: Dan Linehan

Ballygiblin 3-12 St Kieran’s (Limerick) 0-11

Weekends won’t come better than this one for Ballygiblin’s Shane Beston.

On Saturday, he was married to Kildorrery native Emma Coughlan; then, on Sunday he celebrated his new status by helping Ballygiblin retain theirs – scoring 3-3 as they won a second successive AIB Munster Club JHC title.

A change in approach from Cork County Board made the unprecedented achievement possible – the Lower IHC was renamed the Premier JHC, with the winners advancing to Munster. Having won the county JAHC in 2021, Ballygiblin went on to claim Munster honours in their opening match of 2022, against Tipperary’s Skeheenarinky on January 9 – with the PJHC on the sideboard, they have matched that achievement as the goalscoring firepower was too much for St Kieran’s of Limerick. It’s not the end of the year just yet, though, as an All-Ireland semi-final against Commercials of Dublin or Wexford’s Horeswood awaits in a fortnight.

 The Ballygiblin team after their win over St Kieran’s in the Munster junior hurling championship final at Mallow. Picture: Dan Linehan
The Ballygiblin team after their win over St Kieran’s in the Munster junior hurling championship final at Mallow. Picture: Dan Linehan

Beston’s three first-half goals ensured that Ballygiblin retired with a 3-2 to 0-7 half-time lead, after playing against the wind.

The first came in the 12th minute, at a time when Ballygiblin trailed by 0-2 to 0-1, the game having been held up for five minutes following an injury to James Muckell of St Kieran’s. Barry Coffey’s good delivery found Cathail O’Mahony, who drove towards goal and offloaded to Seán O’Sullivan. His ball back across goal eluded O’Mahony, but Beston was there to divert it to the net.

While St Kieran’s captain and scorer-in-chief Ian Mackessy replied with a 65, Beston struck again on 17 – this time, he profited from Killian Roche’s good ball forward before creating space and firing a good ground shot beyond Cillian Ambrose, who had earlier saved from O’Mahony.

That made it 2-2 to 0-3 but, despite the boost of the goals, Ballygiblin – for whom Lorcan Finn excelled in defence – found points hard to come by for the rest of the half. Mackessy’s accuracy saw Kieran’s claw their way back, point by point, and five minutes into injury time, the deficit was down to two.

However, further chances to erode the deficit were wasted and Beston grabbed his third goal when he reacted well after O’Mahony’s point attempt came back off the post. Mackessy had his sixth point in reply to leave four points in it at the break.

Glowing with confidence, Beston scored a superb individual point on the restart and, though Mackessy again replied, a pair of Joseph O’Sullivan frees gave Ballygiblin the breathing space of a six-point advantage.

Mackessy continued to convert the frees that St Kieran’s won in scoring range but, with Mark Keane again a commanding presence at centre-back, Ballygiblin never looked like allowing the goal opportunities that St Kieran’s needed in order to generate an avenue back into the game.

For Ballygiblin, Joseph O’Sullivan’s dead-ball accuracy was at the same high level that it has been all year and Beston applied some extra exclamation marks to his performance with a pair of superb points.

Four points in a row between the 48th and 55th minutes eased them ten points clear. As the clock reached 60, O’Sullivan landed his ninth, a free from halfway. Mackessy did go for goal with a late Kieran’s free but his shot went over the bar.

Even if it had ended in the net, Ballygiblin had done enough – they will now look to end the year on another high.

 Ballygiblin captain Fionn Hurley lifts the Munster title. Picture: Dan Linehan
Ballygiblin captain Fionn Hurley lifts the Munster title. Picture: Dan Linehan

Scorers for Ballygiblin: S Beston 3-3, J O’Sullivan 0-9 (0-7 f, 0-1 65).

St Kieran’s: I Mackessy 0-10 (0-8 f, 0-1 65), D Treacy 0-1.

BALLYGIBLIN: C Noonan; L Finn, F Herlihy, J Mullins; B Coffey, M Keane, M Lewis; R Donegan, K Roche; D Flynn, D Barry, S Beston; C O’Mahony, S O’Sullivan, J O’Sullivan.

Subs: K Duggan for Barry (27, injured), D Sheehan for Lewis (53).

ST KIERAN’S: C Ambrose; D Mulcahy, P McCarthy, A Heffernan; JB Harnett, B McCarthy, C McEnery; S Ryan, M Shine; D Treacy, J McCarthy, C Mann; I Mackessy, J Muckell, E McEnery.

Subs: D Nolan for Muckell (11, injured), A Molyneaux for Mann (43), M Flynn for Nolan (53).

Referee: C Doyle (Tipperary).

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