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1-2 for star Hutchinson as Ballygunner begin Munster defence with 12-point win

Patrickswell await in the Munster club semi-final.

Dessie Hutchinson wheels away after scoring a goal for Ballygunner.
Dessie Hutchinson wheels away after scoring a goal for Ballygunner.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Sixmilebridge 0-12
Ballygunner 1-21

Eoin Brennan reports from Sixmilebridge

HOLDERS BALLYGUNNER RECORDED their biggest provincial victory of the decade as they brushed off the challenge of Sixmilebridge in their first defence of their Munster SHC title.

Only a point separated the sides in their 2017 clash that was only decided by a late JJ Hutchinson goal in Walsh Park, but this time it was his younger brother Dessie that inflicted the majority of the damage as Ballygunner ran out comprehensive winners.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion soccer player’s return has proven a key ingredient in Ballygunner’s sixth successive Waterford crown.

And in front of an attendance of 1,916 in O’Garney Park, Hutchinson fired the opening two points, earned five frees for Pauric Mahony to convert while also grabbing the decisive goal deep into injury-time to power his side into what proved an unassailable nine point interval lead.

Along with Peter Hogan (until injured), a 10-point haul from Pauric Mahony and star turns for Conor Sheahan and Billy O’Keeffe, Ballygunner deservedly led from start to finish to cement their fourth successive provincial win.

With a strong wind at their backs, the visitors raced into a 0-7 to 0-2 advantage by the tenth minute, mainly through lively inside pair Hogan (3) and Hutchinson (2).

pauric-mahony-and-caimin-morey Pauric Mahony finished with 0-10 for the Waterford champions. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

A surprisingly subdued Sixmilebridge did recover to trade points on five more occasions by the 30th minute as three scores from Conor Deasy were matched by four Pauric Mahony frees at 0-12 to 0-07.

However, while Sixmilebridge would have been relatively content to only trail by five points with the wind to come, the hosts would ship a telling sucker-punch in the 32nd minute when Barry Coughlan raced through the heart of the defence before seeing his shot parried by goalkeeper Derek Fahy, only for Dessie Hutchinson to billow the net with a rebound pull at 1-13 to 0-07.

It was sufficient daylight for Ballygunner to be able to soak up the inevitable home backlash as Sixmilebridge grabbed the first two points through Alex Morey and Jamie Shanahan but crucially couldn’t convert either of their goal opportunities.

Instead, Ballygunner re-esablished full control with seven of the next points through Pauric Mahony (5) and substitute Conor Power (2) to clinically flesh out the final margin and tee up a home semi-final showdown with Limerick champions Patrickswell in Walsh Park next Sunday.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony (0-10, 9f); Dessie Hutchinson (1-2); Peter Hogan (0-3); Conor Power (0-2); Conor Sheahan, Michael Mahony, Tim O’Sullivan, Billy O’Keeffe (f) (0-1 each

Scorers for Sixmilebridge: Alex Morey (0-5, 4f); Conor Deasy (0-3); Caimin Morey (0-2, 1f, 1’65); Jamie Shanahan, Brian Corry (0-1 each)

Ballygunner

1. Stephen O’Keeffe

4. Billy O’Keeffe
3. Ian Kenny
2. Eddie Hayden

9. Shane O’Sullivan
6. Philip Mahony
7. Barry Coughlan

5. Conor Sheahan
15. Paddy Leavy

12. Barry O’Sullivan
11. Pauric Mahony
8. Michael Mahony

14. Tim O’Sullivan
13. Peter Hogan
10. Dessie Hutchinson

Subs:
20. Conor Power for Hogan (37, inj)
23. JJ Hutchinson for T. O’Sullivan (56)
25. Wayne Hutchinson for Pauric Mahony (59)
24. Kevin Mahony for Leavy (60)
19. Tom Gallagher for Sheahan (63)

Sixmilebridge

1. Derek Fahy

2. Brian Carey
3. Barry Fitzpatrick
4. Noel Purcell

7. Pa Mulready
6. Caimin Morey
5. Seadna Morey

8. Shane Golden
9. Evan McInerney

13. Cathal Malone
11. Paidí Fitzpatrick
10. Jamie Shanahan

14. Alex Morey
15. Brian Corry
17. Conor Deasy

Subs
21. Cathal Lynch for Carey (29)
20. Alan Mulready for McInerney (HT)
12. Jason Loughnane for Corry (54)

Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Eoin Brennan

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