Ballyhale captain Colin Fennelly feels that Ballygunner captain Barry Coughlan disrespected his club after the All-Ireland Hurling Club Final earlier this year.
The two sides are set to meet again in the semifinal in two weeks' time. In their prior meeting, Ballygunner won their first All Ireland Club title with the last puck of the match. Trailing by two points in extra time, Harry Ruddle scored a fantastic goal nearly 20 metres out.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) February 12, 2022
'We Robbed Ye'
Speaking afterwards from atop the Hogan Stand steps, Ballygunner's co-captain Barry Coughlan gave an honest and emotional speech, stating that they robbed the title of Ballyhale.
And to Ballyhale, I'm not going to be patrionising with ye, you're going to go down as the best club ever. Like, literally we robbed it today, you know. I suppose ye have done that to other teams so I suppose it goes around comes around. But I mean that with most respect. You're on the road a long time and hopefully we'll see ye next year if ye do get out again.
However, Fennelly feels that his comments on how Ballyhale have stolen games from other clubs was disrespectful. Speaking to John Fogarty in The Irish Examiner today, Fennelly said he thinks his speech is something you don't want to hear at the end of games.
Their speech at the end of the game, it's not something you want to hear. You want that little bit of respect, but look, we'll keep our heads down, we'll do what we can do over the next two weeks. I'm sure they'll do the same. Whoever comes out on top, will come out on top and that's it, you have to take hurling the way it is at face value. If you're not good enough on the day, you won't win and that's it.
Coughlan's claim that Ballyhale have robbed clubs as well is probably referenced their opponents' game before the 2021 final. Trailing by two points in the semifinal against Galway champions St Thomas' with injury time nearly up, Ballyhale were awarded a free nearly 20 metres out. TJ Reid stepped up to take it and incredibly rippled the back of the net.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) January 23, 2022
Fennelly's claim that Ballygunner disrespected them would have certainly made the rivalry between the clubs more ferocious. Despite playing in two different provinces, the two clubs are a 20-minute drive away from other as they are close to the Kilkenny-Waterford border. The eagerly awaited semifinal is to be played on the 17th of December. Both teams will be hoping for a great game and for no more robberies to occur.