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Brian O'Sullivan of Ballygunner scores the first goal against Abbeyside during the Waterford County Senior Club Hurling Championship Final.
Brian O'Sullivan of Ballygunner scores the first goal against Abbeyside during the Waterford County Senior Club Hurling Championship Final.

Ballygunner win fifth Waterford SHC title in a row

Waterford Senior Hurling Final


By Tomás McCarthy Fraher Field

Ballygunner won their fifth Waterford SHC title in a row and their seventeenth in all at a breezy Fraher Field this afternoon.

Man of the match Pauric Mahony struck thirteen points (five from play) for Fergal Hartley’s men while Brian O’Sullivan and Conor Power netted second half goals. The Gunners are now unbeaten in 27 matches within the county.

Abbeyside played the last quarter with fourteen men after Patrick Hurney’s dismissal. The Gunners outscored them 2-10 to 0-7 across the second period. Full forward Mark Ferncombe was a constant threat for the Villagers and ended the hour with 0-8.

Six Mahony points left the favourites 0-9 to 0-6 in front against the elements at the break. Abbeyside won the toss and David Collins elected to play with a strong breeze for the opening thirty. The underdogs got a dream start through Mark Ferncombe after thirteen seconds. Patrick Hurney added a second a minute later. The Villagers shot seven wides over the first quarter however.

Two Pauric Mahony frees levelled matters before Brian O’Sullivan supplied Barry O’Sullivan for the lead score on fifteen minutes. Maurice Power equalised immediately. Stephen O’Keeffe then dived at the feet of Patrick Hurney when Abbeyside sniffed a goal. Ferncombe slotted two frees to regain the lead.

Pauric Mahony drifted into full forward during the back end of the first half and sniped four points on the spin (three from play). Brian O’Sullivan and Billy O’Keefe made it six in a row during a Ballygunner purple patch. John Hurney nabbed Abbeyside’s first point for thirteen minutes.

Ferncombe struck first again for Peter Queally’s side 43 seconds into the second half. Former county player Richie Foley was introduced at the break.

Mahony rifled over three frees at the other end.

On 40 minutes, Tim O’Sullivan rounded John Elstead and offloaded to older brother Brian who slipped it low under Stephen Enright (1-12 to 0-7). Another Mahony free extended the lead to nine. Ferncombe retorted with another spectacular point from an acute angle.

Patrick Hurney received a straight red from Thomas Walsh with a quarter of an hour left for interference with Philip Mahony’s helmet. Conor Power smashed home a second goal on 50 minutes and Pauric Mahony added three more to his tally.

Stephen O’Keeffe produced a full length save from Abbeyside sub Michael O’Halloran who managed two consolation points. Sub keeper Paddy Cooke replaced O'Keeffe at the end as Fergal Hartley emptied the bench.

Ballygunner will meet Cork champions Midleton in the Munster club quarter final on October 28.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-13 (8fs), Brian O’Sullivan 1-3, Conor Power 1-0, Billy O’Keeffe, Barry O’Sullivan, Michael Mahony 0-1 each.

Scorers for Abbeyside: Mark Ferncombe 0-8 (3fs, 1 65), Michael O’Halloran 0-2, Maurice Power, John Hurney, Patrick Hurney 0-1 each.

BALLYGUNNER: Stephen O’Keeffe; Eddie Hayden, Barry Coughlan, Ian Kenny; Wayne Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, Harley Barnes; Shane O’Sullivan, Michael Mahony; Billy O’Keeffe, Pauric Mahony, Barry O’Sullivan; Tim O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan, Conor Power. Subs: JJ Hutchinson for Billy O’Keeffe (48), Conor Sheehan for Michael Mahony (59), Barry Power for Wayne Hutchinson (61), Paddy Cooke for Stephen O’Keeffe (63), Mark Mullally for Conor Power (64).

ABBEYSIDE: Stephen Enright; John Elstead, Brian Looby, Darragh McGrath; James Beresford, David Collins, Sean O’Hare; Conor Prunty, Maurice Power; Patrick Hurney, Tiernan Murray, Neil Montgomery; John Hurney, Mark Ferncombe, Sean Whelan-Barrett. Subs: Richie Foley for Murray (H-T), Tom Looby for O’Hare (H-T), Michael O’Halloran for Whelan-Barrett (42), Mark Twomey for Elstead (56), Eoin Kiely for Montgomery (58).

Referee: Thomas Walsh

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