Tony Kelly may have starred for Ballyea as they claimed a historic first Munster SHC title but the Thurles factor also played its part in the victory.

The Clare club only won their first county championship three weeks ago and Kelly revealed that the majority of the panel had never played at the iconic Semple Stadium before.

This fact helped Robbie Hogan’s men keep their mind off the small matter of a game against back-to-back Cork champions Glen Rovers.

“You’d swear from the players’ perspective there was no Munster final to be played during the week,” Kelly, scorer of five points in the 1-21 to 2-10 win, told RTÉ Sport.

“Everything was training, everyone was just talking about Thurles, all the lads that hadn’t played there in the club.

“They were like ‘Jesus, it’d be great now to have a run out in Thurles’.

“Even from under-8 to senior, they probably never thought, once they didn’t make the Clare team, that they’d ever get a run out in a place like Thurles.”

The midfielder was still coming to terms with their achievement and reflected on how they were handicapped at the early stages of the season with a number of players unavailable through inter-county commitments.

He said: “To come from winning your first county championship to being in Thurles and playing in a Munster final and winning it with your club is absolutely fantastic.

“We’ve maybe eight or nine county lads altogether between the football and hurling panels.

“It’s hard to get lads to the field all in the one night. From the quarter-final, semi-finals on, that’s been the case, you’re coming training, you’ve your full 20-25 lads.

“That’s just rewards for those lads,”

Ballyea led 1-10 to 0-04 at the break but were made to work hard in the second half as Rovers threatened a comeback. 

"We played our best half of hurling all year in that half," he said.

"It was probably very good to watch, it was very enjoyable to hurl in it as well.

"They’ve been coming back and winning games.

"We knew there was going to be a kick in them and in fairness to them they rattled in two goals and maybe unsettled us for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half but we showed great composure to come back in it."

Kelly also joked with RTÉ Sport's Marty Morrissey, who played minor hurling with Ballyea many moons ago, that he should consider making a return.  

"Marty, stay away from the Christmas dinner over the winter and you could play in the All-Ireland semi-final yet," he said. 

"I'll see you at training on Tuesday night," said Morrissey.