History is on the line when Ballygunner take on Clonlara in Sunday's Munster club hurling final. The Waterford supremos have their sights set on writing a new line in their ledger, provided they can get past Clonlara in Thurles.
The Gunners have won the last two iterations of the competition, beating Ballyea in 2022 and Kilmallock in 2021. Daragh O'Sullivan's side became just the fifth team in history to win back-to-back titles when they beat Ballyea last year, joining Newmarket on Fergus, Roscrea, Blackrock and St Joseph's/Doora-Barefield in a very exclusive club.
The Gunners also have the accolade of appearing in the most finals; 13 in all (1966, 1968, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022).
While they also carry the less desirable mantle of having lost the most finals also, losing nine. (1966, 1968, 1996, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2017, 2019).
They have lost just two games since 2019; one against Boris-Illeigh (Munster final) and one against Ballyhale Shamrocks (All-Ireland semi).
In the county, their winning run has been extended to 55 games following their tenth consecutive Déise title when they beat De La Salle at Walsh Park in September. They have not lost a game in the county since losing to Passage in the 2013 final.
Three In A Row?
No team has ever won Munster three times in a row and on Sunday, the Gunners will be set on tearing up the history books and marking their name down in a column that is yet to be drawn.
If there is any team to pull it off, it may well be Ballygunner.
They have already set the record for consecutive wins in the county, they equaled and then exceeded Mount Sion and Erin's Own long-standing nine-in-a-row records and they became the first Waterford side to win the All-Ireland. They've been there and done it when it comes to setting new records and they have a gilt-edged chance to add to that tally on Sunday.
They face a Clonlara side who have only ever played two games in Munster. The Black and Amber recently claimed just their third-ever Clare title when they beat Crusheen to bridge a fifteen-year gap since their 2008 success.
One of those two Munster games was two weeks ago when they beat Kiladangan in Thurles, but to find the previous outing we have to go back to 2008. They lost to Cork's Sarsfields that year.
In the Banner final back in October, Clonlara were buoyed to success by Michael O Loughlin who shot 2.09 of their 3.18 to deny Crusheen.
County man John Conlon pulled the strings in midfield that day to win his second title as the only remaining player from the 2008 campaign.