History made in final Passage of play
Goals from substitutes turn Waterford hurling final on its head
Harley Barnes of Ballygunner in action against Stephen Mason of Passage. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Passage claimed a first Waterford senior hurling championship to pip neighbours Ballygunner at the death at Walsh Park.
Goals from substitute Sean Hogan and Conor Carey in the dying moments turned the game on its head as the men from east Waterford tasted senior glory for the first time.
With seven minutes to go, Passage trailed by six points, with goals from JJ Hutchinson and captain Pauric Mahony in the 36th and 40th minutes sending Ballygunner into a commanding position. But Passage never threw in the towel, with man-of-the-match Owen Connors tacking over a series of frees and a 65.
Opened the scoring
Ballygunner captain Pauric Mahony opened the scoring with a fourth minute free, with Passage replying within 60 seconds through midfielder John Whitty. Owen Connors and Mahony traded a free and 65 in the ninth and 13th minutes respectively, before Ballygunner goaled through Stephen Power after a surging run from the in-form David O’Sullivan in the 16th. Yet Passage rallied well through points from Killian Fitzgerald, Eoin Kelly and a 21st minute goal from Owen Connors sent the underdogs two points clear.
David O’Sullivan skilfully released Harley Barnes for a fine Ballygunner’s point in the 22nd minute before Mahony restored parity via a free two minutes later. Mahony and Connors exchanged frees in the 26th and 27th minutes before Mahony rifled the ball between the posts on the half-hour. In injury time a Kelly free brought the sides level .
Ballygunner began the second half much the brighter, with the Mahony and Hutchinson goals sending them 3-9 to 1-8 clear.
But thanks to the free-taking of Connors and Kelly,Passage retained hope. Jason Roche, Killian Fitzgerald and a brace of frees from Owen Connors left just a goal between the sides as injury-time beckoned.
Then up stepped 17-year-old Hogan with a gloriously struck goal and joint captain Carey added another to seal a dramatic victory.