Ballygunner in seventh heaven after Waterford SHC Final win over Passage

Waterford SHC Final


By Dermot Keyes at Walsh Park

BALLLYGUNNER powered their way to a seventh successive Waterford Senior Hurling title – their 10th this century – with a comfortable win over neighbours Passage at an eerily quiet Walsh Park.

Inspired by Pauric and Philip Mahony and with Conor Sheahan dictating affairs in centre-field, the destination of the title was, as anticipated prior to the throw-in, rarely in doubt. 

At the break, the Gunners led by 1-12 to 0-5, limiting Passage, the last team to defeat Ballygunner in this championship all of seven years ago, to just a single point from play.

Pauric Mahony, in imperious form throughout, opened the scoring after 62 seconds following a fine Dessie Hutchinson assist. Hutchinson was next to score three minutes later before dominant midfielder Conor Sheahan opened his account in the sixth minute with a fine effort from halfway. Peter Hogan repeated that feat less than a minute later before Mahony’s first free of the afternoon sent Ballygunner five points clear after nine minutes.

Passage opened their account through a Mikey Cummins free in the 11th minute and for an all-too brief window, the challengers rallied with points from Gary Cullinane and another Cummins free to trail by two after 14 minutes. But Kevin Mahony pointed from the Gunners’ next attack, followed by further points from Pauric Mahony, Peter Hogan and Mahony again to leave the holders six clear after 22.

The Ballygunner players celebrate after victory over Passage in the Waterford SHC Final. 
The Ballygunner players celebrate after victory over Passage in the Waterford SHC Final. 

Whatever hopes of a meaningful contest developing were put to pasture in the 23rd minute after Kevin Mahony, played through by brother Mikey, fired the ball low to Eddy Lynch’s left to leave Ballygunner 12 points to the good. Pauric Mahony tagged on a further brace in the 26th and 27th minutes before Mikey Cummins converted his third free a minute later (0-4 to 1-11). Peter Hogan and Pauric Mahony (a free) completed Ballygunner’s first half scoring either side of a fourth Cummins free but by the break it was a case of how much Darragh O’Sullivan’s side would win by.

While Passage never threw in the towel, the gulf between the sides was undeniable. After the break, Ballygunner kept the scoreboard ticking over, adding 11 points to their tally while the challengers ended the hour with only two points from play.

Substitutes Barry O’Sullivan and Conor Power also got their names on the scoresheet while Kevin Mahony, Peter Hogan and Dessie Hutchinson all ended the hour with four scores from play each.

Thirty-eight unbeaten matches and seven News & Star cups later, the Ballygunner locomotive rolls on. A ‘date with eight’ already looks on the agenda.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-8 (0-5f), Kevin Mahony 1-3, Dessie Hutchinson and Peter Hogan (0-4 each), Conor Sheahan (0-2), Barry O’Sullivan and Conor Power (0-1 each).

Scorers for Passage: Mikey Cummins 0-5 (0-5f), Owen Connors 0-2 (0-2f), Gary Cullinane and Ian Flynn (0-1).

BALLYGUNNER: Stephen O’Keeffe; Ian Kenny, Barry Coughlin, Tadhg Foley; Billy O’Keeffe, Philip Mahony, Shane O’Sullivan; Conor Sheahan, Paddy Leavey; Dessie Hutchinson, Pauric Mahony, Mikey Mahony; Tim O’Sullivan, Kevin Mahony, Peter Hogan. Subs: Barry O’Sullivan 0-1 for Mikey Mahony (49), Conor Power for Tim O’Sullivan (50), Eddie Hayden for Billy O’Keeffe (55), JJ Hutchinson for Peter Hogan (57) and Darragh O’Keeffe for Conor Sheahan (60).

PASSAGE: Eddy Lynch; Callum O’Neill, Darragh Lynch, David Jones; Adam Roche, Noel Connors, Ciaran O’Neill; Gary Cullinane, Killian Fitzgerald; Stephen Lynch, Owen Connors, Paddy Flynn; Jason Roche, Liam Flynn, Mikey Cummins. Subs: John Whitty for Adam Roche and Thomas Connors for Stephen Lynch (both HT); Eoghan Reilly for Paddy Flynn and Jamie Burke for Gary Cullinane (both 50) and Mike Hutchinson for Ciaran O’Neill

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Modeligo)