Waterford Senior Hurling Championship Final
De La Salle 0-21
Ballygunner have claimed a record tenth consecutive Waterford Senior Hurling Championship title.
Darragh O'Sullivan's side saw off De La Salle at Walsh Park to surpass the great Erin's Own (1927-1935) and Mount Sion (1953-1961) teams of the past - becoming the first ever side to win ten Waterford titles in a row.
The game was essentially turned on its head by two goals within four minutes late in the first half, those coming via Peter Hogan and Pauric Mahony.
The teams traded early blows with two points from Mahony and responses from the impressive youngster Reuben Halloran and captain Eddie Barrett.
Peter Hogan got on the scoreboard before Conor Sheahan soon followed, but a superb free from Reuben Halloran kept the Gracedieu men within one.
Mahony nailed another free before the ever-dangerous Dessie Hutchinson made no mistakes when found in acres, and the game’s first goal chance then presented itself to Hogan - but he blazed over the bar as opposed to bulging the net.
Jake Dillon hit over a fine point but that was soon cancelled out by three consecutive points from Mikey, Kevin and Pauric Mahony.
Two excellent points from play from the lively Halloran brought De La Salle back within two points, but all of a sudden the Gunners motored out of sight.
Kevin Mahony picked out the onrushing Hogan on 23 minutes, and he made no mistake blasting to the bottom right corner to take his personal tally to 1-2. It was 26 minutes before the Gunners even hit their first wide.
Hutchinson and Barrett were on target once again, before Shaun O’Brien made a stunning save to deny Hutchinson one-on-one, but it counted for little just seconds afterward.
Pauric Mahony was found in space and flicked the sliotar over the head of Jake Dillon, and drove at goal before lashing to the left hand corner. 2-11 to 0-9, and effectively good night De La Salle.
Hutchinson and Halloran were on target once again, but at eight points down at the break, it seemed De La Salle had a mountain to climb to try and break the Gunners’ dreams of a magnificent ten. 2-12 to 0-10 at the break.
It was the Kevin Mahony show immediately after the break, he got the better of his individual battle with Adam Farrell and hit three scores from play in a matter of moments to show for it.
Shaun O’Brien made a fine stop to deny Pauric Mahony, as Thomas Douglas and Halloran attempted to rally the troops for Ian Flynn’s De La Salle.
Patrick Fitzgerald made sure all Ballygunner’s forwards had contributed to the scoreboard, before Tadhg Foley picked out Kevin Mahony to slam over his fifth from play. Reuben Halloran brought his personal tally to 0-10, but it mattered little - as the Gunners were now 2-18 to 0-14 ahead.
Daniel Lalor hit a superb point for the underdogs from distance, before Halloran’s 11th reduced arrears to eight with a quarter left.
Paddy Leavy picked out Patrick Fitzgerald for the teenager to split the posts for the second time, before Stephen O’Keeffe was sprung into action to deny Jack Twomey on 49 minutes.
Halloran knocked over a twelfth point, before Conor Sheahan found Ballygunner’s twentieth. Despite being at arms length, De La Salle didn’t give up, as Thomas Douglas knocked over his second of the afternoon.
The counter attack was devastating all afternoon from the Munster champions, and never was that more exemplified than when Hutchinson offloaded to Sheahan to grab his third score, before Patrick Fitzgerald was on hand to repeat that feat.
A close range free from Pauric Mahony brought his personal tally to 1-7, before opposing captain Eddie Barrett grabbed his third. Mikey Mahony brought the tally of the Mahony brothers to a collective 1-14, before Thomas Douglas became the latest man to hit the 0-3 mark.
Pauric Mahony then brought the Gunners tally to 32 points as the kids in black and red flocked to the sides of Walsh Park to celebrate. History created once more with an eleven point victory.
The Munster champions now march on to defend their provincial crown, bringing their unbeaten tally in Waterford to a whopping 55 games in doing so.
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe: Ian Kenny, Barry Coughlan, Tadhg Foley; Shane O’Sullivan, Philip Mahony, Harry Ruddle; Conor Sheahan, Paddy Leavy; Dessie Hutchinson, Pauric Mahony, Peter Hogan; Patrick Fitzgerald, Kevin Mahony, Mikey Mahony.
Subs: Ronan Power for Harry Ruddle (50); Jake Foley for Peter Hogan (53); Billy O’Keeffe for Ian Kenny (55); Sean Harney for Tadhg Foley (59)
Scorers: Pauric Mahony (1-8, 0-6f); Kevin Mahony (0-5); Peter Hogan (1-2); Patrick Fitzgerald, Dessie Hutchinson and Conor Sheahan (0-3 each); Mikey Mahony (0-2)
De La Salle: Shaun O’Brien; Conor Keane, Adam Farrell, Daniel Lalor; Eddie Barrett, Jake Dillon, Lorcan Dwyer; Jack Fagan, Reuben Halloran; Sean Carton, Eddie Meaney, Jack Twomey; Thomas Douglas, Kevin Moran, Cormac McCann.
Subs: Brian Cunningham for Eddie Meaney (40); Tom Moran for Lorcan Dwyer (44); Colm Morris for Sean Carton (56); Kieran O’Sullivan for Daniel Lalor (56); Ryan Duke for Cormac McCann (59)
Scorers: Reuben Halloran (0-12, 0-7f, 0-1 ‘65); Thomas Douglas (0-4); Eddie Barrett (0-3); Jake Dillon and Daniel Lalor (0-1 each)
Referee: Nicky Barry (Passage)