Tom Maher/INPHO Dessie Hutchinson celebrates victory at full-time.
# gunning for glory
Ballygunner hammer Kilruane MacDonaghs to lay down marker in Munster defence
The Waterford side made light work of a two-month lay-off in a 17-point win.

Ballygunner (Waterford) 4-19

Kilruane MacDonaghs (Tipperary) 0-14

 Stephen Barry reports from Walsh Park 

BALLYGUNNER SHOWED PLENTY of hunger to defend their Munster and All-Ireland titles in a 17-point quarter-final demolition of Kilruane MacDonaghs.

Once again, they made light work of a two-month hiatus, their short-passing crisp and their shooting sharp as ever. They scored 4-16 from play, with their full-forward line making hay. Kevin Mahony blasted 2-2, Patrick Fitzgerald, in his first year out of minor, picked off 1-4, and Dessie Hutchinson did all his scoring early for a 0-3 tally.

Their subs had an impact, too. All-Ireland-winning goalscorer Harry Ruddle – who has played for their intermediate team all year – got a goal, while club hurling Team of the Year member Billy O’Keeffe  scored 0-2, and Jake Foley added a point.

Kilruane ran short on bodies in the end. Two of their outstanding defenders this year, Aaron Morgan and Niall O’Meara, left injured.

Neither side had ideal preparation for this one. Kilruane with too short a lead-in to celebrate and recover from celebrating a first Tipperary SHC title in 37 years, Ballygunner with too long a lay off. But the Waterford champions know how to manage their eight-week hiatus and this victory had echoes of their 3-20 to 2-6 hammering of Ballyea at this stage last year.

The nine-in-a-row Waterford champions now face Na Piarsaigh in Limerick a fortnight down the road in a semi-final that serves as a repeat of the 2018 Munster final.

Ballygunner, choosing to play into the wind in the first half, had the better of the opening exchanges. They struck four points in a row to open up a 6-2 lead, with Dessie Hutchinson finding space to land the first three of those, with Cian Darcy supplying Kilruane’s brace.

There were goal chances at either end. Philip Mahony’s hook denied Willie Cleary a shot on goal, while Páidí Williams’ superb diving save stopped Kevin Mahony from netting. That kept Kilruane in it at only three points down, but Ballygunner scored the next three anyway – Pauric Mahony scoring two, the latter from an intercepted puck-out making it 0-10 to 0-4.

Kilruane fought on with inspirational points from Jerome Cahill – turning over the ball and twisting and twirling away from defenders to score – and Eoin Hogan, again winning his own ball and running forward.

They’d have happily taken that four-point deficit into the half but on the stroke of half-time, Ballygunner forced their own turnover and with numbers over, they are so clinicial. Pauric Mahony to Peter Hogan to Patrick Fitzgerald to the back of the net. 1-11 to 0-7 at half-time.

They struck again just after the break. Kevin Mahony followed his opening point with a goal, again set up by Hogan, firing to the net from his knees.

Kilruane hit three in a row in reply but Ballygunner hit back a 2-2 without reply; the goals from Ruddle and Kevin Mahony in the 46th and 53rd minutes. It was 4-16 to 0-12 now and all that was left to be decided was the final margin of victory.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Kevin Mahony 2-2, Patrick Fitzgerald 1-4, Pauric Mahony 0-6 (3f), Harry Ruddle 1-0, Dessie Hutchinson 0-3, Billy O’Keeffe 0-2, Peter Hogan 0-1, Jake Foley 0-1.

Scorers for Kilruane MacDonaghs: Willie Cleary 0-5 (5f), Cian Darcy 0-3, Jerome Cahill 0-2, Niall O’Meara 0-1, Eoin Hogan 0-1, Seán McAdams 0-1, Kian O’Kelly 0-1.


1. Stephen O’Keeffe

3. Barry Coughlan, 2. Ian Kenny (j-capt), 4. Tadhg Foley

5. Shane O’Sullivan, 6. Philip Mahony, 7. Ronan Power

8. Conor Sheahan, 9. Paddy Leavey

15. Pauric Mahony, 11. Mikey Mahony, 12. Peter Hogan

10. Dessie Hutchinson (j-capt), 13. Patrick Fitzgerald, 14. Kevin Mahony


18. Billy O’Keeffe for M Mahony (33 inj)

17. Harry Ruddle for Hogan (43)

19. Jake Foley for Fitzgerald (48)

20. Tom Gallagher for Power (50)

21. Tim O’Sullivan for K Mahony (53).

Kilruane MacDonaghs

1. Páidí Williams

2. James Cleary, 12. Aaron Morgan, 3. Jack Peters

7. Eoin Hogan, 6. Niall O’Meara, 4. Kieran Cahill

5. Conor Austin, 9. Mark O’Neill

10. Willie Cleary, 8. Seán McAdams, 15. Cian Darcy

13. Thomas Cleary, 30. Jerome Cahill (capt), 14. Kian O’Kelly


13. Séamus Hennessy for Morgan (14 inj)

23. Carl Williams for O’Meara (42 inj)

24. Conor Cleary for Austin (46)

20. Eoin Carroll for W Cleary (55)

26. Rory Grace for K Cahill (58)

17. Rob Austin for T Cleary (58).

Referee: Niall Malone (Clare)


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