Dave Bennett put Lismore into the lead from a seventh minute free, and when veteran full forward Sean Daly scored a masterful goal a minute later, the gauntlet, it seemed, had been firmly thrown down to the favourites.
Their forwards struggled against a rock-solid defence in which wing back Wayne Hutchinson was superb, and while the Lismore defence too stood up manfully to increasing Ballygunner pressure, the winners went in at the half time break leading by 0-7 to l-3.
Shortly after the resumption Ballygunner struck for a crucial goal. The spadework was done brilliantly by Power, who delivered to Gearoid O’Connor for a close-range goal. JJ Hutchinson rifled over three super rapid-fire points, and when Power twice found the range, from a free and from play, the gap had widened to eight as the game went into its final quarter.
But then came Lismore’s mini-revival, sparked by a fine Kevin Power point.
However, they struck several bad misses before Shanahan got on the scoreboard with a quality point in the 57th minute.
Sixty seconds later the impossible fleetingly seemed possible when Shanahan crashed home an unstoppable goal, and the deficit was down to a solitary score.
However, with the whiff of danger Ballygunner came surging forward, and it was fitting that one of their heroes of the hour, Shane O’Sullivan, should seal their victory with two magnificent points from distance.
Gunners now play Ballyduff Upper in the final.
Ballygunner: S. Power (0-5); G. O’Connor (1-1); J.J. Hutchinson (0-3); S. O’Sullivan (0-2); D. O’Sullivan, A. Moloney, B. Mullane (0-1) each. Lismore: D. Shanahan (1-1); S. Daly (1-0); D. Bennett (0-3); D. O’Gorman, D. Howard (0-1) each.
P. Haran; C. Keogh, A. Kirwan, R. O’Sullivan; T. Power, F. Hartley, W. Hutchinson; D. O’Sullivan, S. O’Sullivan; S. Walsh, G. O’Connor, A. Moloney; J.J. Hutchinson, B. Mullane, S. Power.
N. O’Donnell for Moloney.
B . Landers; E. Bennett, J. O’Connor, A. Whelan; P. Howard, S. Kearney, W. Cunningham; D. O‘Gorman, K. Power; D. Shanahan, D. Howard. D. Bennett; M. Shanahan, S. Daly, J. Heneghan.
M. Walsh for M. Shanahan; B. Bennett for O’Gorman; P. Prendergast for Heneghan; S, Bennett for Cunningham.
M. Condon, Clashmore.