Not a high quality game, but Tallow’s second half surge was too powerful for the Gunners and in the end the victory went deservedly to the outsiders.
The early sequences were so totally dominated by Ballygunner that Tallow followers must have been fearing a rout. As early as the fifth minute, Paul Flynn brilliantly set up Gearoid O’Connor for a fine goal. But with James Murray giving a five-star display at centre back and the accurate freetaking of teenager Thomas Ryan also reaping a tidy dividend, Tallow were just four points adrift, 1-6 to 0-5, at the interval.
The Gunners still looked to have control of the game, but Tallow came out of the traps like a good greyhound on the resumption with rapid-fire points from Shane F McCarthy, William Henley, and John Paul Grey to narrow the deficit to the minimum.
Ballygunner were toiling at that stage, but within seconds of his introduction Stephen Power had their opening score of the second half after being set up by Flynn. It was back to the minimum again however when Ryan pointed another free sixty seconds later.
Tallow grabbed the lead for the first time in the 44th minute when William Henley’s effort slipped all the way to the net, and with the alarm bells ringing the Gunners introduced veteran Fergal Hartley, despite concerns about his fitness.
The former county star lasted four minutes before his heavily bandaged thigh gave way, and with his departure much of the belief drained out of Ballygunner.
A superb point from a 45 metre sideline cut by Ryan gave Tallow breathing space but the Gunners, on reflection, will rue misses by Flynn and Shane O’Sullivan from very scoreable chances; Flynn did reduce the deficit to two points in the 57th minute but the Tallow defence, superbly marshalled by James Murray and David O’Brien, held firm for a victory that was hard earned but well deserved.
Scorers for Tallow: T Ryan, 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 sideline); W Henley, 1-1; M O’Brien, S F McCarthy, J P Grey, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballygunner: P Flynn, 0-5, (0-3f); G O’Connor, 1-1; S Walsh, S Power, 0-1 each.
TALLOW: S O’Sullivan; S McCarthy, D O’Brien, K Kearney; A Kearney, J Murray, M O’Brien; P Murray, P O’Brien; W Henley, K Geary, T Ryan; B Sheehan, SF McCarthy, L McCarthy. Subs: JP Grey for Sheehan; W Murphy for Murray.
BALLYGUNNER: P Haran; V Molloy, A Kirwan, C Kehoe; D O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan, W Hutchinson; A Moloney, J Kearney; P Mahony, P Flynn, S Walsh; G O’Connor, B Mullane, JJ Hutchinson. Subs: M Kearney for O’Connor; S Power for Walsh; F Hartley for Kearney; S O’Keeffe for Haran; W Kiely for Hartley.
Referee: T O’Sullivan, Cappoquin.