Well, it probably didn’t really. Ballyboden sub Niall Ryan spurned a good goal chance when taking his point in the 38th minute. It seemed hasty at the time but, ultimately, likely would have changed nothing. There had been a theory in recent years that Ballyhale were supposed to be coming back to the pack in Kilkenny. Now they are just two games away from another All-ireland title and they possess a daunting mix of youth and experience. A provincial hat-trick for Kilkenny this weekend with Ballyhale adding to the junior and intermediate titles picked up the day before by Dunnamaggin and Graigue-ballycallan. Wasn’t this supposed to be a lean time for Kilkenny hurling? Ballyboden mixed their tactics up in the first half by attempting some more considered ball into the likes of Collie Basquel, but its success was only temporary, as Ballyhale’s big ball winners reasserted themselves. Richie Reid at left-wing-back, especially in the first half when he devoured a ton of ball and sent it soaring back into the danger area. TJ Reid hit four first-half wides, but some of his stickwork and hand passing was sublime. A fairly straightforward day for Carlow’s Patrick Murphy, who handed out the odd yellow when it was called for, but there was nothing in the way of dirty play or controversy to discommode the officials in this one. Ballyhale Shamrocks play Waterford’s Ballygunner in the All-ireland semi-final in the New Year.