Mahoney helps Ballygunner retain their Waterford crown
Déise intercounty star scores 13 points as champions make it five in a row
Ballygunner celebrate their Waterford final victory at Fraher Field. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Ballygunner 2-18 Abbeyside 0-13
Ballygunner claimed a fifth successive Waterford senior hurling championship title at a gusty Fraher Field as their dominant second-half performance proved too much for a gallant Abbeyside before a 4,275-strong crowd.
Goals from Brian O’Sullivan and Conor Power, in addition to a majestic display from talisman Pauric Mahony proved telling for Fergal Hartley’s side, whose all-round game reached a level which Abbeyside struggled to contain.
At the break, Ballygunner had made light of the wind gusting against them to lead by three points (0-9 to 0-6), striking six successive points during a first half phase in which Abbeyside recorded five successive wides.
While Mark Ferncombe led the charge for the challengers, Pauric Mahony shook off a niggling back problem and wreaked havoc when moved into the inside line, scoring three superb points from play between the 25th and 27th minutes.
After the interval, Ballygunner’s rhythm proved as steady as it was decisive, with Mahony converting frees in the 34th and 36th minutes. Five minutes later, Brian O’Sullivan steered the holders towards the News & Star Cup when finishing for a goal smartly from 10 yards following Tim O’Sullivan’s pass.
Mahony and Ferncombe traded points before Abbeyside’s Patrick Hurney received a straight red card for tampering with Philip Mahony’s helmet. Pauric Mahony scored another superb point in the 49th minute, with Ferncombe replying with another free a minute later.
But the icing on Ballygunner’s cake was provided by Conor ‘Speedy’ Power, who showed a clean pair of heels to Darragh McGrath before sliding the ball beneath Stephen Enright to send the champions 11 points clear with nine minutes remaining.
Abbeyside never threw the towel in, with Michael O’Halloran and Ferncombe (0-2 each) adding to their tally, but the champions added four late points of their own through Mikey Mahony, Brian O’Sullivan (0-2) and the outstanding Pauric Mahony.
BALLYGUNNER: S O’Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; Philip Mahony, W Hutchinson, B O’ Keeffe (0-1); H Barnes, S O’Sullivan; P Hogan, Barry O’Sullivan (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-13; 0-8 frees), T O’Sullivan; C Power (1-0), Brian O’Sullivan (1-3), M Mahony (0-1).
Subs: JJ Hutchinson for B O’Keeffe (48), C Sheahan for M Mahony (59), B Power for W Hutchinson (60 +), P Cooke for S O’Keeffe (60+), M Mullally for C Power (60+).
ABBEYSIDE: S Enright; B Looby, S O’Hare, J Elsted; C Prunty, D Collins, D McGrath; J Beresford, M Power (0-1); N Montgomery, J Hurney (0-1), S Whelan Barrett; P Hurney (0-1), M Ferncombe (0-8; 0-3 frees, 0-1 a 65’), T Murray.
Subs: T Looby for S O’Hare and R Foley for T Murray (both ht), M O’Halloran (0-2) for S Whelan Barrett (42), M Twomey for J Elsted (56), E Kiely for N Montgomery (59).
Referee: Thomas Walsh