Sport

Ballygunner put Ballyea to the sword for back-to-back Munster titles

Ballygunner 1 - 23
Ballyea 0 - 17 

Patrick Fitzgerald struck 1-4 in a man-of-the-match performance as Ballygunner landed back-to-back Munster Club hurling titles in Thurles this afternoon with a nine-point win over Ballyea.

The Gunners held a three-point lead at the break, 1-11 to 0-11 with the goal coming from the teenager Fitzgerald in the 20th minute.

Pauric Mahony did the donkey work before offloading to Fitzgerald who planted the ball past Barry Coote.

Clare ace Tony Kelly kept Ballyea in touch as he struck seven points in the opening period (five frees and two from play).

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Ballyea got the first two points of the 2nd half thanks to Kelly and Mossy Gavin before Pauric Mahony responded with a neat score.

The Waterford champions showed great composure in the second quarter and kept the scoreboard ticking with Fitzgerald on fire, Pauric Mahony and Dessie Hutchinson were also to the fore as the Gunner's defence once again stood tall.

Pauric Mahony got the final score of the afternoon, his tenth of the day as joint-captains Ian Kenny and Dessie Hutchinson hoisted the Provincial title for a second successive season.

The win makes Ballygunner the first team since 1999 to secure back-to-back Munster titles, and only the fifth team to do it in the history of the competition.

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The Gunners will now face either Ballyhale Shamrocks or Kilmacud Crokes in the All-Ireland semi-final. The Leinster final is down for decision on Sunday in Croke Park at 2.30 pm.

BALLYGUNNER Scorers; P. Mahony 0-10, P. Fitzgerald 1-4, D. Hutchinson 0-4, Mikey and Kevin Mahony 0-2 each, P. Hogan 0-1

Referee: Ml. Kennedy (Tipperary)

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