Fouremile have edge as brave Ballyduff effort ends

THE belief that Ballyduff Upper would stroll to victory in this Waterford SHC quarter-final at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, on Saturday was well wide of the mark, and the odds-on favourites had to pull out all the stops before eventually seeing off Fourmilewater’s brave challenge.

Even with their county star Shane Walsh seriously restricted by a leg injury picked up in training, Fourmile gave it a right go.

For lengthy spells they threatened to pull off a huge shock. Ballyduff never scaled the heights of earlier games and it was only a brace of very late points that eventually saw them safely across the winning line.

Walsh performed heroically until eventually forced out of the fray in the closing quarter, and with his departure went Fourmile’s best hope of pulling off a shock.

They set down a marker with early points from the outstanding Richard Fenton (ending the game with 1-5) and Diarmuid Wall, but the sides were level twice subsequently before Brendan Hannon’s 18th-minute pointed free put the winners in front for the first time.

Fourmile however were in no mood to roll over and Fenton’s 23rd minute goal, after great work by Diarmuid Wall and Maurice O’Gorman, had them back in front — and with Shane Walsh firing over a super point — they were well worth their 1-7 to 0-9 half- time lead.

Allstar nominee Stephen Molumphy had a quiet enough first half for Ballyduff in the full forward berth, but as he began to roam more in outfield, his influence increased. His quality point had his side level within two minutes of the restart, and with the game into its final quarter, they had forged two points clear thanks in the main to the accurate freetaking of Brendan Hannon, who ended the game with a nine point haul.

It was back to the minimum again thanks to another Fenton point from a free before midfielder Seamas Hannon restored Ballyduff’s two-point advantage with arguably the best score of the game.

They could never breathe easily however, not even with the dismissal of Fourmile full back Aidan Ryan for a second yellow card offence in added time

But two more Hannon points, one from a penalty, finally delivered them their expected, but extremely hard-earned, win.

Scorers: Ballyduff: B. Hannon (0-9, 0-7 frees, 0-1 “65’’); P. Kearney (0- 2); G. Feeney, S. Kearney, J. Kearney, S. Molumphy, A. Power, S. Hannon (0- 1) each. Fourmilewater: R. Fenton (1-5); S. Walsh (0-2); D. Wall, B. Wall, T. O’Gorman, M. Walsh (0-1) each.

BALLYDUFF UPPER: A. Power; P. Molumphy, T. Molumphy, S. Cunningham; T. Feeney, M. Drislane, G. Feeney; J. Twomey, S. Hannon; J. Kearney, S. Kearney, M. Molumphy; P. Kearney, S. Molumphy. B. Hannon.

Sub: S. Feeney for Cunningham.

FOURMILEWATER: C. Ryan; J. Moore, A. Ryan, J. Walsh; P. Horkan, B. Wall, L. Walsh; M. O’Gorman, M. Walsh; A. Lawlor, L. Lawlor, S. Walsh; D. Wall, T. O’Gorman, R. Fenton.

Subs: Seamas Lawlor for A. Lawlor; D. Spellman for Seamas Lawlor; Shane Lawlor for Horkan; Michael O’Gorman for D. Wall; D. Wall for S. Walsh.

Referee: M. Wadding (Roanmore).

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