However, it was the straight red card of Allstar Tony Browne within 30 seconds of his half-time introduction for Mount Sion that dominated the post-match discussions.
No questioning the correctness of referee Tommy O’Sullivan’s decision, as he sent Browne packing for a wild pull on Abbeyside midfielder John Foley.
Browne didn’t start the game because of injury but he had scarcely time to draw breath when he was gone.
Abbeyside’s 0-12 to 0-5 half-time lead scarcely mirrored the extent of their dominance and, while Mount Sion hung in through the trojan endeavours of Ken McGrath, they were playing second fiddle in most areas of the field.
The outcome was done and dusted when Mark Gorman hammered home the only goal of the game in the 48th minute.
M. Gorman (1-5, 0-5 frees); M. Fives (0-4); M. Ferncombe (0-4); G. Hurney(0-3); J. Gorman (0-3); R. Foley, T. Murray (0-1) each.
K. McGrath (0-5); M. Frisby (0-4); E. McGrath (0-2); R. O’Keeffe, B. Cusack (0-1) each.
D. Ryan; S. Briggs. J. Kindregan, G. Breen; P. Lynch. R. Foley. E. Enright; S. O’Hare. J. Foley; G. Hurney. M. Gorman. M. Fives; M. Ferncombe. J. Gorman. L. Hurney; Subs; T. Murray for J. Foley; D. Fives for L. Hurney.
I. O’Regan; B. Flannery. P. Hammond. K. Flynn; S. Twomey. K. McGrath. K. Stafford; F. O’Shea. N. Jacob; E. McGrath. J. O’Farrell. M. Frisby; R. O’Keeffe. A. Kirwan. B. Browne; Subs; C. Ryan for Twomey; T. Browne for O’Farrell; B. Cusack for Jacob; R. McGrath for O’Shea.
T O’Sullivan, Cappoquin.
Ballygunner will know that major improvement will be needed if they are to mount a serious title challenge.
Two players, the Gunners Shane Walsh and Ballyduff defender Neil Power, were dismissed on straight cards following a major first-half dust up that held up the game for more than three minutes.
The winners just about deserved their slender 0-6 to 0-5 half time advantage. Two Paul Stephenson goals in as many minutes early after the restart put Ballyduff in the driving seat, but with serious questions being asked of them the Gunners came up with fitting responses.
Rapid fire goals by Michael Kearney and Stephen Power had them back in front, 2-7 to 2-5, entering the closing quarter and they clinched an eventual clear cut victory with Kearney’s second goal and his side’s third four minutes from time.
M. Kearney(2-2); S. Power(1-2); S. O’Sullivan(0- 5); J. J. Hutchinson(0-2); G. O’Connor(0-2); D. O’Sullivan, A. Moloney(0- 1) each.
P. Stephenson(2-0); J. Kennedy(0-4); P. Fitzgerald(0-2); N. Power, G. Harris(0-1) each.
P. Haran; J. Kearney. F. Hartley. C. Kehoe; T. Power. A. Kirwan. W. Hutchinson; D. O’Sullivan. S. O’Sullivan; A. Moloney. S. Walsh. S. Power; M. Kearney. J. J. Hutchinson. G. O’Connor; Sub; P. Mahoney for Moloney.
B. O’Leary; A. Dunne. J. O’Leary. D. Van Veen; S. O’Leary. C. Kenny. N. Power; P. Fitzgerald. P. Matthews; P. Stephenson. J. Kennedy. P. Kennedy; N. Clifford. G. Harris. R. Barron; Sub; P. Murphy for Barron.
D. Ó Murchu, Ring.
WATERFORD senior hurling champions Ballyduff suffered a crushing defeat on their opening title defence at Cappoquin yesterday.
Seven times the near neighbours and arch rivals were level before Tallow made the vital breakthrough in the 37th minute with the first of their three goals, and from there to the end they controlled proceedings.
Their hurling in that second half was of the highest quality with their brilliant half-back line of James Murray, David O’Brien, and Kieran Geary providing a match-winning form.
The dominance of Paul O’Brien and Paul Murray at midfield where Ballyduff’s Allstar Stephen Molumphy struggled to impact was also a decisive factor, while up front Luke McCarthy led the way with a vintage display.
The champions at times looked just a pale shadow of the side that lifted the title last season, and they were a trifle fortunate to end the opening half on level terms, 0-7 each, with five of those Ballyduff points coming from Brendan Hannon frees.
The sides were still deadlocked eight minutes into the second half until Billy Sheehan goaled to give Tallow a lead they would never relinquish. Steadily they began to turn the screw and when Luke McCarthy finished the ball to the net from a great James Murray sideline cut, Ballyduff were in major trouble.
With the hurling right out of the top drawer, the champions, to their credit, tried mightily to get back into the contention but the Tallow defence stood firm and defiant and the icing on the cake for them came in the shape of substitute Brian Henley’s goal on the stroke of full time.
P. Kearney (0-7, 0-4f); L. McCarthy (1-2); P. O’Brien (0-4); B. Sheehan (1-0); B. Henley (1-0); W. Henley, T. Ryan, P. Murray (0-1) each.
B. Hannon (0-11f); J. Kearney (0-2); B. Kearney (0-1).
B. Power; A. Kearney, S. G. McCarthy, M. O’Brien; J. Murray, D. O’Brien, K. Geary; P. Murray, P. O’Brien; S. F. McCarthy, W. Henley, P. Kearney; T. Ryan. B. Sheehan, L. McCarthy.
B. Henley for P. Kearney.
A. Power; P. Molumphy, T. Molumphy, S. Cunningham; S. Hannon, T. Feeney, G. Feeney; J. Twomey, S. Molumphy; J. Kearney, M. Molumphy, B. Kearney; P. Kearney, S. Kearney, B. Hannon.
K. Geary for M. Molumphy (inj); M. Drislane for Twomey.
Maurice Condon, Clashmore.