By Michael Moynihan, Fraher Field
This Waterford SHC final went to an experienced Ballygunner side, easing past Abbeyside to collect their fifth title in a row.
Abbeyside opened in Fraher Field with the wind well, Mark Ferncombe and Patrick Hurney hitting early points. Ballhygunner’s sharpshooter Pauric Mahony pointed two frees in response but Abbeyside then hit seven wides in a row, stalling their momentum.
Barry O’Sullivan and Maurice Power swapped points before Ferncombe nudged Abbeyside ahead with two frees.
Mahony then took over for Ballygunner, hitting four points in a row to give his side the lead.
Brian O’Sullivan and Billy O’Keeffe chipped in for the Gunners approaching the break, but there was time for John Hurney to strike one more point for the challengers, leaving the score 0-9 to 0-6 at half-time.
Ferncombe and Mahony (free) swapped points on the resumption, but Mahony hit two more frees after that; on 40 minutes Brian O’Sullivan finished cleverly from a tight angle and Ballygunner were 1-12 to 0-7 up with the wind behind them.
Patrick Hurney got a straight red card, apparently for helmet interference, with fifteen minutes left and the game was over as a contest. Conor Power’s 51st-minute goal was the icing on the cake for the champions.
Scorers for Abbeyside: M. Ferncombe (0-8, 2 frees, 1 65); M. O’Halloran (0-2); M. Power, J. Hurney, P Hurney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony (0-14, 8 frees); Brian O’Sullivan (1-2); C. Power (1-0); Barry O’Sullivan, B. O’Keeffe, M. Mahony (O-1 each).
ABBEYSIDE: S. Enright, B. Looby, S. O’Hare, J. Elsted, C. Prunty, D. Collins (c), D. McGrath, J. Beresford, M. Power, N. Montgomery, J. Hurney, S. Whelan-Barrett, P. Hurney, M. Ferncombe, T. Murray.
Subs: T. Looby and R. Foley for S. O’Hare and Murray (HT); M. O’Halloran for Whelan-Barrett (42); M. Twomey for Elsted (57); E. Kiely for Montgomery (58)
BALLYGUNNER: S. O’Keeffe (JC), E. Hayden, B. Coughlan, I. Kenny, Philip Mahony, W. Hutchinson, B. O’Keeffe, H. Barnes, S. O’Sullivan (JC), Barry O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony, T. O’Sullivan, C. Power, Brian O’Sullivan, M. Mahony.
Subs: JJ Hutchinson for B. O’Keeffe (48); C. Sheahan for M. Mahony (59); B. Power for W. Hutchinson (60); P. Cooke for S. O’Keeffe (61); M. Mullally for C. Power (62).
Referee: T. Walsh (Modeligo).