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After 8 games in 8 weeks, Ballygunner are into the Munster hurling final

Waterford star Pauric Mahony finished with 0-11 for the Gunners.

Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Ballygunner 1-18

Sixmilebridge 1-17

Tomas McCarthy reports from Walsh Park

BALLYGUNNER RECOVERED FROM a five-point half-time deficit to sneak past Sixmilebridge and advance to their ninth Munster club final. JJ Hutchinson’s goal two minutes from the end proved the matchwinner for Fergal Hartley’s men.

2,490 spectators witnessed another nail biter at Walsh Park as the sides were level at 0-16 apiece after 56 minutes. Jamie Shanahan’s ninth point of the afternoon edged Sixmile ahead before Hutchinson, who scored 1-3 in the second half, scrambled home to give the Gunners the initiative.

Billy O’Keeffe, another of Ballygunner’s driving forces, and Hutchinson moved them four clear in added time. Seadna Morey blasted in a late goal but time ran out on the Clare champions. Pauric Mahony completed the hour with 0-11 for the victors, 0-10 from placed balls.

Evan McInerney replaced injured Bridge captain Paidi Fitzpatrick beforehand while Hutchinson stepped in for Brian O’Sullivan on the Gunners line-up. Shanahan popped over the opener from a free but Mahony replied. Points from Shane Golden, Conor Deasy Niall Gilligan and another Shanahan free sent the wind-assisted visitors 0-5 to 0-3 ahead by the quarter-hour mark.

Four Mahony conversions kept the Gunners in touch before Derek Fahy denied Conor Power from close range. At the other end, Cathal Malone won a free and Shanahan restored a two-point advantage for the Bridge. Shane O’Sullivan struck Ballygunner’s first from play.

Alan Mulready and three sweetly-hit Shanahan efforts pushed the Bridge four clear before 41-year-old Gilligan had the last word of the opening half (0-11 to 0-6).

The Gunners resumed in determined fashion as Billy O’Keeffe instantly got a point back. Alex Morey responded straight away. Peter Hogan smashed the crossbar but JJ Hutchinson salvaged a point from the move. Hutchinson and Mahony levelled matters for only the second time, 0-12 each.

All-Star keeper Stephen O’Keeffe then produced a sensational save from Golden but Cathal Malone snuck the Bridge back in front. Mahony tied the scores again with his ninth before Hutchinson supplied O’Keeffe for the lead point entering the final quarter 0-14 to 0-13). Shanahan (free) and Brian Corry saw the Bridge overtake the Gunners.

The magnificent Mahony answered with two frees but Jamie Shanahan’s move into the half forward division paid off with a quick fire double (0-17 to 0-16). Hutchinson silenced the Bridge faithful however as they look forward to a provincial final with Na Piarsaigh on 19 November.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-11 (9fs, 1 65’), JJ Hutchinson 1-3, Billy O’Keeffe 0-3, Shane O’Sullivan 0-1.

Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Jamie Shanahan 0-9 (6fs), Seadna Morey 1-0, Niall Gilligan 0-2, Conor Deasy, Cathal Malone, Alex Morey, Brian Corry, Shane Golden, Alan Mulready 0-1 each.

Ballygunner

1. Stephen O’Keeffe

2. Eddie Hayden
3. Barry Coughlan
4. Ian Kenny

6. Wayne Hutchinson
5. Philip Mahony
7. Shane Walsh

8. Harley Barnes
9. Shane O’Sullivan

11. David O’Sullivan
12. Pauric Mahony
15. Billy O’Keeffe

13. Conor Power
22. JJ Hutchinson
10. Peter Hogan

Subs

21. Barry O’Sullivan for Walsh (42)
18. David Walsh for Hogan (60)

Sixmilebridge

1. Derek Fahy

2. Noel Purcell
6. Seadna Morey
4. Barry Fitzpatrick

5. Caimin Morey
3. Aidan Quilligan
21. Evan McInerney

8. Jamie Shanahan
9. Conor Deasy

10. Cathal Malone
11. Niall Gilligan
14. Shane Golden

13. Brian Corry
12. Alex Morey
15. Alan Mulready

Subs

17. Kevin Lynch for Mulready (55)
18. Brian Carey for McInerney (58)

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)

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Tomas McCarthy

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