Ballygunner 1-18 -
Ballygunner’s Conor Power under pressure from Dungarvan’s Aaron Donnelly and Darragh Lyons. Photo: Sean Byrne.
J. J. Kavanagh & Sons Co. S.H.C – Group A – Round 2
With 43 minutes of this tie played Ryan Donnelly had shot Dungarvan into a two point lead and the possibility of Ballygunner’s 28 game winning streak in the Waterford senior hurling championship coming to an end loomed large. Playing in an unrelenting downpour Dungarvan had slightly the better of the first half exchanges as they took a one point lead into the second half and having outscored The Gunners by four points to three in the third quarter they looked set to push on and bring the game right down to the wire.
NOTHING IN IT EARLY ON
It was never going to be that simple where the champions were concerned and despite fielding just nine of the side that started in the Munster final against Na Piarsaigh Ballygunner responded to the challenge in champion style with a last quarter scoring blitz that produced nine unanswered points and left no one in any doubt as to the strength in depth of their panel and their resolve to retain their title.
Playing into the breeze in the first-half the champions took the lead with a point from a Pauric Mahony free inside a minute to which Ryan Donnelly replied in kind a minute later. A further exchange of points between Mahony and Sean Ryan saw the teams level after six minutes when a cross from Conor Power on the stand side picked out Tim O’Sullivan who broke through a tackle and smashed the ball past Gavin Power for the only goal of the game.
There followed an exchange of points between Kieran Power and Pauric Mahony (F) before Donnelly sent over a great point from play to which Peter Hogan replied in kind to retain his side’s one goal lead. Between the 15th and 17th minutes Dungarvan sent over three points on the bounce, one from Cathal Curran and two from Donnelly frees to level the tie. Ballygunner regained the lead from another Mahony free but in the 24th minute Gavin Crotty was brought down by Barry Coughlan heading for goal and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.
While Ryan Donnelly had been taking the frees the penalty was entrusted to Patrick Curran but his well struck effort to the right corner of Stephen O’Keeffe’s goal was brilliantly saved at full stretch by the keeper and turned out for a ‘65’ which Ryan Donnelly pointed to level the tie yet again.
The first substitution of the game was made with Joe Allen replacing Kevin Daly in the Dungarvan attack and within a minute of his coming on the Dungarvan player had a great chance of a goal as he made a driving run through the Gunners’ defence only to shoot narrowly wide. Dungarvan had missed two great goal chances but parity was further maintained as Donnelly and Mahony traded further scores from frees before another point from a free by Donnelly in added time gave his side a 0-10 to 1-6 half-time lead.
A great point on the run from Michael Kiely put Dungarvan two clear on the resumption but by the 11th minute excellent points from play by county players Mahony and Hogan had the sides level for the sixth time. The position was maintained as once again Donnelly and Mahony exchanged points but in the 41st minute Donnelly set Patrick Curran up for a great lead point and two minutes later Donnelly struck from play to give his side a two point lead.
GAME TURNS IN CHAMPS’ FAVOUR
Then came the turning point of the game. Ballygunner, who had already sent on Eddie Hayden for Conor Sheahan, made a second substitution with J. J. Hutchinson replacing Conor Power in attack. Within seconds of his arrival the recently retired county footballer had his name on the scoresheet and after Pauric Mahony added two further points from frees Hutchinson struck for his second point in the 52nd minute. The tide had now turned decisively in Ballygunner’s favour as Mahony and Hutchinson opened up a four point lead. Peter Hogan followed up with his third of the game as the steam went out of the Dungarvan challenge. Barry O’Sullivan’s 59th minute point gave his side a six point lead with the game going into added time and in the final piece of action Dungarvan’s Cathal Curran received a yellow card for a very bad frontal tackle on Tom Gallagher as he broke through on goal leaving the county teenager to be helped from the pitch as Pauric Mahony sent over the last score of the game from the free.
Ballygunner will be very happy with the manner in which they won this game and especially with the contribution of their young players who stepped up to the plate. Dungarvan on the other hand will be looking long and hard for the cause of their dramatic last quarter fade out at a time in the game when they seemed to be gaining the upper hand.
Scorers:- Ballygunner – Pauric Mahony 0-11 (8Fs), Tim O’Sullivan 1-0, Peter Hogan and J. J. Hutchinson 0-3 each, Barry O’Sullivan 0-1.
Dungarvan – Ryan Donnelly 0-9 (6Fs, 1’65’), Cathal Curran, Sean Ryan, Patrick Curran, Kieran Power and Michael Kiely 0-1 each.
BALLYGUNNER – Stephen O’Keeffe, Tadhg Foley, Barry Coughlan Barry Power, Conor Sheahan, Shane O’Sullivan, Tom Gallagher, Harley Barnes, Paddy Leavy, Peter Hogan, Barry O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony, Conor Power, Dessie Hutchinson, Tim O’Sullivan. Subs – Eddie Hayden for Sheahan (43), J. J. Hutchinson for C. Power (45), Sheahan for Gallagher (60).
DUNGARVAN – Gavin Power, Aaron Donnelly, John Curran, Sean Ryan, Jamie Nagle, Kieran Power, Darren Lyons, Michael Kiely, Joe Duggan, Patrick Curran, Kevin Daly, Conor Sheridan, Ryan Donnelly, Gavin Crotty, Cathal Curran. Subs – Joe Allen for Daly (25), Kealan Daly for Duggan (55).
Referee – Nicky O’Toole (Naomh Pól).