Ballygunner deny Tallow in Waterford decider
Tallow’s long wait for county title continues as Ballygunner retain their crown
Ballygunner’s Shane Walsh brings the ball out of defence. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Ballygunner retained their Waterford hurling title at an overcast Walsh Park when they got the better of a dogged Tallow side, whose 30-year wait for the Deise’s top trophy continues.
The Gunners, managed by former Cork dual star Dennis Walsh, maintained their dominance of the county championship, which they’ve won six times since 2001, repeating their 2011 success over the same opponents.
Despite Ballygunner’s greater dominance of territory and possession, the sides were locked on eight points apiece at the break, with Tallow registering their first score from play on the stroke of half-time from Evan Sheehan.
The free-taking of minor talent Ryan Grey had kept Tallow in the contest, while Ballygunner were left rueing a succession of wides, six in the second quarter alone, as they failed to make their greater quality count on the scoreboard.
Brian O’Sullivan’s free inside the opening minute was soon followed by a Shane O’Sullivan point as Ballygunner began brightly. But Grey’s brace of frees drew the sides level after six minutes.
Points from Brian and Barry O’Sullivan edged Ballygunner ahead by the 12th minute but a Grey 65 kept the Bridesiders firmly in the contest at the end of the first quarter.
Between then and the break, Tallow enjoyed their best spell of the game, with Grey finding his range with three frees and a 65, and a fine score from corner-forward Evan Sheehan.
The Gunners, who struck 15 wides in total, added to their opening half tally via Brian, David and Shane O’Sullivan.
As anticipated, Ballygunner ramped things up after the break, with minor star Peter Hogan landing three points from play, and skipper David O’Sullivan tagging on a brace more from centre-back.
Substitute Tim O’Sullivan also chipped in with a fine point, with Conor Power and Brian O’Sullivan also helping to seal the deal.
Try as they undoubtedly did, Tallow’s attack found a Ballygunner defence marshalled by Barry Coughlan, Philip Mahony and David O’Sullivan too tough a barrier a breach, with Ryan Grey’s placed balls remaining their primary scoring source.
“The lads never lost their hunger all year, and it’s been an emotional year for a whole lot of reasons and they had to dig it out,” Walsh said after the game. “Tallow were never going to hand it to us, they had a very good game plan, but our lads stepped up during a 10-minute period during the second half, but it’s our day and I’m very proud of the lads.”
Next up for Ballygunner? Cork champions Glen Rovers in the Munster Club Championship semi-final at the same venue on Sunday, November 1st.
BALLYGUNNER: S O’Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; S Walsh, P Mahony, H Barnes; B O’Keeffe, D O’Sullivan (0-3), B O’Keeffe; JJ Hutchinson, S O’Sullivan (0-2), C Power (0-2); P Hogan (0-2), Barry O’Sullivan (0-1), Brian O’Sullivan (0-5, two frees, one 65). Subs: T O’Sullivan (0-1) for JJ Hutchinson (37 mins), S Power for B O’Keeffe (55 mins), C Sheehan for C Power (59 mins). TALLOW: S O’Sullivan; M O’Brien, D O’Brien, K Kearney; A Kearney, J Murray, J Neville; P O’Brien, K Geary; W Henley, T Ryan (0-1), Bob McCarthy; E Sheehan (0-1), R Grey (0-10; eight frees, two 5’), J Henley. Subs: P Kearney for B McCarthy (42 mins), Brian McCarthy for J Neville (52 mins), S Feeney for W Henley (57 mins), J Beecher for J Henley (60 mins). Referee: Thomas Walsh.