Dessie Hutchinson hit 1-3 from play as Ballygunner remained on course for a record breaking ten county titles in a row with a 1-23 to 1-15 win over Fourmilewater in the Dungarvan sunshine.
Six unanswered points either side of half time ended Fourmile's challenge in this semi final after Tholom Guiry rattled the champions with a terrific solo goal. The Gunners are now 52 games unbeaten in Waterford, a run that dates back to June 2015. Along with Hutchinson, Pauric Mahony (0-9), Peter Hogan (0-3) and Conor Sheahan (0-2) also caught the eye. Aaron Ryan finished on ten points for Fourmile while Sean Walsh also caused problems up front.
Gunners boss Darragh O'Sullivan was delighted with the response to that Guiry goal. "It was well up there to be honest with you. In the shaky spell we had in the first half, when they got the goal and brought it back to a point, we kicked on before half time. In the second half again, we worked really, really hard. You'd have to be happy with the performance overall."
Has ten in a row been mentioned in the camp? "Once I'd say, earlier on in the year. We just put it to bed and moved on. We don't go after numbers."
Hutchinson's first half goal was Ballygunner at their best. Hogan and Mikey Mahony started the move before Hutchinson pinged a ball to Kevin Mahony in the corner. Hutchinson took off towards the square and got on the end of Mahony's pass to finish to the Fourmile net.
"It was exceptional, the way we worked it" O'Sullivan remarked. "In that move, the man in the better position always got the ball. That's one of the key cornerstones of what we're about is doing what's right for the team."
That green flag left the Gunners six points to the good but Fourmile made a game of it. The strapping Sean Walsh was a handful under the high ball. Three unanswered points from the big number fourteen as well as Conor Gleeson and Aaron Ryan left a goal in it. Shane O'Sullivan went down with a knock, which broke Fourmile's momentum, and Patrick Fitzgerald pointed at the other end.
On 24 minutes, Fourmile defender Tholom Guiry burst past Peter Hogan, dodged Philip Mahony and fired a rasper to the bottom corner past Stephen O'Keeffe (1-8 to 1-7). The champions reacted with the last four white flags of the half. Pauric Mahony converted two dead balls while the hard working Peter Hogan added two from play. Fourmile missed two point chances during that spell.
Within a minute of the restart, Hutchinson and Kevin Mahony stretched the lead to seven (1-14 to 1-7). Six was as close as Fourmile came after that. Hutchinson could have finished the night with four goals. He fired two chances wide and saw another shot blocked by Stephen Ryan.
Scorers for Ballygunner: P Mahony 0-9 (6fs, 1 65), D Hutchinson 1-3, P Hogan 0-3, K Mahony, C Sheahan, P Fitzgerald 0-2 each, H Ruddle, J Foley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Fourmilewater: A Ryan 0-10 (8fs), T Guiry 1-0, C Gleeson 0-2, F Hallinan, S Walsh, E Spellman 0-1 each.
Ballygunner: S O'Keeffe; I Kenny, B Coughlan, T Foley; S O'Sullivan, Philip Mahony, H Ruddle; C Sheahan, P Leavey; P Hogan, M Mahony, Pauric Mahony; P Fitzgerald, D Hutchinson, K Mahony.
Subs: J Foley for Fitzgerald (46), R Power for O'Sullivan (58), B O'Keeffe for K Mahony (58).
Fourmilewater: S Ryan; J McGrath, T O'Gorman, J Mulcahy; T Guiry, T Barron, O Walsh; D Ryan, C Gleeson; F Hallinan, J Barron, A Ryan; C Walsh, S Walsh, C Guiry.
Subs: E Spellman for C Walsh (39), S Boyce for C Guiry (43), K Brazil for Mulcahy (47), T Walsh for O Walsh (60).
Referee: S Walsh