TJ Reid: ‘I had only one option to strike the ball as hard as I could’

TJ REID HAS conjured up plenty moments of brilliance in his hurling career but it’s difficult to think of something more sensational or dramatic as his intervention today in Semple Stadium.

TJ Reid with St Thomas manager Kenneth Burke after the game.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The Ballyhale Shamrocks dream of landing three-in-a-row in the All-Ireland club hurling championship was on the verge of ending, when Reid sized up a free deep into injury-time with his team two points down.

Just like he had less than ten minutes previously from a penalty, Reid found the net with a powerful strike, this time clinching a narrow win as Ballyhale dragged themselves clear of defeat.

#TJReid ☘️ 😸 🐐#GAABeo #TheToughest @KilkennyCLG @BallyhaleGAA

pic.twitter.com/NcnNOnfM8i

— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) January 23, 2022

“I think that was my first free outside of a penalty scoring (a goal), so not a bad place I suppose to start,” Reid told TG4 after the game.

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“Bul look, pure luck, I asked the ref what was left and he said, ‘30 seconds’.

“So I said to myself I just have to hit this as hard as I could and lucky enough it went in. I had only one option to strike the ball as hard as I could. It went through a few bodies there. Look it’s pure delight and number one relief.”

“We didn't perform well as a team, we'll be disappointed.”

Smaointí TJ Reid tar éis an cluiche.@GAA_BEO @BallyhaleGAA #GAABEO #TheToughest pic.twitter.com/apIVfZkPdF

— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) January 23, 2022

Reid paid tribute to the challenge St Thomas posed, a vastly different scenarion from that which Ballyhale encountered three years ago when cruising past the Galway opponents in the All-Ireland decider.

“But look we’re relieved, just seeing a few images of St Thomas there, I suppose tears in their eyes, disheartened. Going back to 2019 we beat them, so they were coming here with huge motivation and they did that, they fought us to the bitter end.

“We didn’t perform well as a team, we’d be very disappointed with that. But look, out of jail and looking forward to three weeks. Didn’t link up as a team as much, that’s down to St Thomas, their pure work rate all over the field and just blessed we got a win.”

TJ Reid celebrates after the game with his brother Richie.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

While Ballyhale’s performance was not as free-flowing as we have been accustomed to witness, Reid was pleased to see their resilience remained intact.

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“I suppose we’re on the road a long time and for me the main ingredient is hunger. It wasn’t perfect today but the hunger was there, the resilience was there, the work ethic was there to keep going and we did that. It wasn’t pretty. I’m sure the majority of us will be disappointed looking back on the game, we didn’t perform. I know St Thomas are in the same boat but we had five weeks off, little bit stale, little bit rusty.”

Next up is an All-Ireland final clash with Waterford neighbours Ballygunner.

“I know Ballygunner, they’re only 20 minutes away from Ballyhale. They want an All-Ireland final, they’ve been training for this and hurling for the last seven years. They’ve seven or eight county finals in a row and I’ve no doubt that they want this one. Look a very good team, 2019 I think we beat them as well, they’re coming with pure motivation.

“That hunger is going to be massive. For ourselves, the talk was of Ballyhale Ballygunner in the All-Ireland final, maybe that sunk in to us, maybe we were a little bit complacent today. But look I think tunnel vision now for Ballygunner because they are a serious outfit.”

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