Tomas McCarthy reports from Walsh Park
BALLYGUNNER MOVED A step closer to Waterford senior hurling five-in-a-row with a semi-final obliteration of neighbours Passage at a breezy Walsh Park this afternoon.
Pauric Mahony shot 1-11 in an attacking masterclass from the champions while Conor Power and JJ Hutchinson struck second half goals. Fergal Hartley’s men, who are undefeated in 26 Waterford SHC matches, will take on Abbeyside in the county final on 7 October at Fraher Field.
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Eight Mahony points engineered a 0-15 to 1-3 halfway lead for the holders. Against the breeze, Ballygunner created space for their full forwards to flourish. Tim O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan and Conor Power claimed five points between them.
Mahony opened the scoring after just 25 seconds. Further points by Power, Mahony (free), Tim O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan and Billy O’Keeffe gave them a 6-2 advantage inside the first quarter. Power was a late inclusion for the injured Peter Hogan and the speedster tormented the Passage full backs.
On 17 minutes, Richard Hurley burst through the Gunners defence and Stephen O’Keeffe blocked his strike at goal. Conor Drohan rifled the loose ball to the roof of the net off the hurley (0-6 to 1-2). The champions swiftly cancelled that out with points from Barry O’Sullivan, Mahony and Brian O’Sullivan. Power stung the side-netting on 22 minutes.
The Gunners hit seven on the bounce. Owen Connors knocked over a free for Passage in injury time, their first score for thirteen minutes. A Mahony free from inside his own half followed by another dead ball put them nine to the good at the interval.
Connors wasted two frees on the restart while Mahony and Tim O’Sullivan tagged on points at the other end. Seven minutes into the second period, Power collected a Wayne Hutchinson delivery and finished under Eddie Lynch (1-17 to 1-3). Brian O’Sullivan and Billy O’Keeffe stretched the margin to fifteen with a quarter of an hour still to play.
On 49 minutes, Mahony’s long range free bounced past Lynch to the back of the net. Sub JJ Hutchinson rammed home a third goal in the last minute. Hartley had the luxury of emptying his bench as they prepare for a first ever final meeting with Abbeyside next month.
Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 1-11 (1-10f), Conor Power 1-1, JJ Hutchinson 1-0, Tim O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan 0-3 each, Billy O’Keeffe, Barry O’Sullivan 0-2 each, Shane O’Sullivan 0-1.
Scorers for Passage: Conor Drohan 1-0, Owen Connors 0-3 (0-2f), Richard Hurley 0-1.
1. Stephen O’Keeffe
2. Eddie Hayden
3. Barry Coughlan
4. Ian Kenny
6. Wayne Hutchinson
5. Philip Mahony
8. Harley Barnes
9. Shane O’Sullivan
15. Michael Mahony
7. Billy O’Keeffe
11. Pauric Mahony
10. Barry O’Sullivan
of the team
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13. Tim O’Sullivan
14. Brian O’Sullivan
17. Conor Power
21. JJ Hutchinson for Michael Mahony (48)
24. Conor Sheehan for Power (51)
18. Harry Ruddle Redmond for Brian O’Sullivan (54)
22. Barry Power for Wayne Hutchinson (56)
19. Mark Mullally for Pauric Mahony (57)
1. Eddie Lynch
3. Jason Roche
6. Noel Connors
4. Jason Flood
5. Adam Roche
2. Darragh Lynch
7. Gary Cullinane
8. Pa Walsh
9. Killian Fitzgerald
14. Richard Hurley
11. Thomas Connors
10. Liam Flynn
13. Stephen Lynch
12. Owen Connors
20. Conor Drohan
17. Sean Hogan for Walsh (half-time)
18. Eoin Kelly for Drohan (40)
15. Sean Tracey for Flynn (53)
28. Conor Carey for Stephen Lynch (56)
21. Patrick Flynn for Fitzgerald (58)
Referee: Alan Kissane
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