Ballyhale Shamrocks 6-21 Naomh Éanna 4-11
Colin Fennelly starred with 4-04 as 2015 All-Ireland Club champions Ballyhale Shamrocks overcame first-time Wexford winners Naomh Éanna at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday to convincingly progress to their first Leinster Club SHC final since 2014.
Although Ballyhale drew first blood with a TJ Reid point, Gorey showed they meant business when Cathal Dunbar struck for two goals to carve open a 2-1 to 0-1 lead after eight minutes.
Dunbar made his first impact on five minutes when he sent a daisy-cutter to the net, before latching onto a poor Ballyhale puck-out in the eighth-minute to find the net once more and give the Gorey side a sense of elation.
But a defensive lapse at the other end gifted Ballyhale a breakthrough on 14 minutes, as Eoin Reid rifled through a forest of bodies to cut the margin to 2-2 to 1-4.
Wing-back Jack Cullen attempted to steady Gorey with a majestic point in response. But Ballyhale were finding their feet, and Colin Fennelly used all his experience to fashion his first goal and turn the tables by 2-4 to 2-3 after 18 minutes.
The underdogs kept battling, but Ballyhale extended their lead to 2-9 to 2-6 at half-time with the aid of late scores from both TJ Reid and Brian Cody.
Gorey had a let-off on the resumption when Colin Fennelly angled his shot at goal wide.
But Fennelly returned with a vengeance when slotting over a superb point from the right wing before netting twice within the space of 60 seconds to bed Ballyhale into a comfortable 4-10 to 2-7 advantage afer 36 minutes.
Eoin Cody got amongst the goalscorers on 42 minutes to blow open a decisive 5-13 to 2-7 lead, before inspired Gorey defender Jack Cullen swept in to peg back a goal moments later.
Ballyhale Shamrocks were out of sight though, and when TJ Reid fed Colin Fennelly from a free for the no.14 to stitch his fourth goal on 58 minutes, the Shamrocks were well and truly planning for the provincial final.
Ballyhale Shamrocks: Dean Mason, Conor Walsh, Joey Holden, Brian Butler, Evan Shefflin (0-1), Michael Fennelly (capt.), Darren Mullen (0-1), Ronan Corcoran (0-1), Richie Reid (0-1), Adrian Mullen (0-3), TJ Reid (0-6, 1 '65, 1f), Brian Cody (0-2), Eoin Reid (1-0), Colin Fennelly (4-4), Eoin Cody (1-1).
Subs: Gavin Butler for Walsh (50); Mark Aylward for E Reid (50); Joey Cuddihy (0-1) for Mullen (54); Kevin Mullen for Butler (57); Paddy Mullen for M Fennelly (58).
Naomh Éanna: Barry Kinsella, Tom Stafford, Brendan Travers (capt.), Lee Kinsella, Jack Cullen (1-2), Seán Doyle, Eoin Conroy, Aodhán Doyle, Gary Molloy, Charlie McGuckin, Pádraig Doyle (0-6, 3fs, 1 '65), Darragh Hughes, David O'Brien, Conor McDonald (1-0 penalty), Cathal Dunbar (2-3).
Subs: Jack Cushe for L Kinsella (21); William Cullen for Hughes (38); Conor Hughes for O'Brien (45).
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath).