Ballygunner now face De La Salle in a what will be a virtual all-city final for the first time. However, for an exciting spell in the second-half, a Lismore win was on the cards as, after trailing 1-11 to 1-7 at half time, they held Ballygunner scoreless for 17 minutes of spectacular hurling. It saw them draw level in the 40th minute, take the lead for the first time two minutes later and then stretch it to two points. That was the wake-up call for Ballygunner and the man who answered was substitute Paul Flynn who stepped in to rattle the net for the second time.
He was introduced in place of full-forward Darragh O’Sullivan in the 19th minute and he was less than four minutes on the field when he had the ball in the back of the net.
That was in response to a Dave Bennett goal from a close-in free 24 seconds earlier for Lismore that had cut the lead to a single point.
They may have trailed by four points at the interval but Lismore had come out for the second half oozing confidence. In just 19 seconds John Heneghan had a point on the board, Dave Bennett added another and he might have had a second goal in the 35th minute but his penalty went over the bar.
Lismore made a significant change at half time when they brought on James Shanahan at left half forward. Towering above everyone else, he wrought havoc under the high ball, caught a ball that resulted in the equalising point from John Heneghan and then started the move which resulted in Heneghan’s point that gave Lismore the lead for the first time.
It appeared as if they were about to create an upset until Tommy Power, who did not miss a free all afternoon, put the ball over the bar. Then Paul Flynn took command for the second time.
Michael O’Sullivan made a delightful catch but this time the ball slipped from his grasp. Flynn grabbed the opportunity and beat goalkeeper Brendan Landers.
His goal put Ballygunner two points up; they had a point from Michael Kearney and another from county minor centre-back Shane Walsh, who had been introduced midway through the second half, and suddenly they were safe.
: Ballygunner: T. Power 0-9 (frees), P. Flynn 2-0, G. O’Connor 0-2, C. Kehoe, S. O’Sullivan, M. Kearney, S. Walsh 0-1 each. Lismore: D. Bennett 1-10 (1-7 frees), J. Heneghan 0-4, E. Bennett and D. Howard 0-1 each.
: P. Haran; N. O’Donnell, W. Kiely, R. O’Sullivan; A. Kirwan, F. Hartley, W. Hutchinson; C. Keohoe, S. O’Sullivan; B. O’Sullivan, A. Moloney, P. Foley; T. Power, D. O’Sullivan, G. O’Connor. Subs: P. Flynn for D. O’Sullivan (18 mins), M.Kearney for B. O’Sullivan (37 mins), S. Walsh for P. Foley (40 mins), P. Carroll N. O’Donnell (43 mins), B. Mullane for M. Kearney (62 mins).
: B. Landers; M. O’Sullivan, J. O’Connor, S. Kearney; S. Bennett, P. Howard, W. Cunningham; D. O’Gorman, E. Bennett; D. Shanahan, D. Howard, P. Prendergast; M. Shanahan, D. Bennett, J. Heheghan. Subs: J. Shanahan for P. Prendergast (half time), C. O’Keeffe for E. Bennett (injury time).
: John Hunt (Clonea).