Mullane De La Salle’s ace

REIGNING Waterford senior hurling champions De La Salle confirmed their status as favourites to retain their title with a 1-21 to 3-9 victory over Lismore at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, yesterday.

Although Lismore were in front inside a minute, when John Heneghan goaled, De La Salle wasted no time in setting out their stall, and the outstanding John Mullane set up Lee Hayes for a goal which helped them to a 1-11 to 1-6 half-time lead.

They maintained their grip on the exchanges on the turnover although Maurice Shanahan’s goal midway through the half kept Lismore well in touch.

However, the points continued to flow from Mullane, and a second Shanahan goal in the closing minutes — he ended with a personal tally of 2-6 — was pretty much the case of too little too late.

Having led for virtually the entire game, title laden Mount Sion needed a last-gasp point to share the spoils, 1-20 to 3-14, with Tallow at Fraher Field.

Trailing by five points, 1-18 to 1-13, with seven minutes remaining Tallow’s fate looked sealed. But in a dramatic finale Eoin Condon’s 55th minute goal and another from the outstanding Thomas Ryan two minutes into injury-time put them a point in front.

Defeat would have been a travesty for Sion and Eoin Whelan’s equaliser with seconds to spare was no less than they deserved.

Dungarvan kept their hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive with a 1-16 to 1-14 victory over Roanmore at Walsh Park yesterday.

A sixth minute goal by Karl Duggan gave the winners the perfect start, but Roanmore responded with a Daniel Murphy goal to lead 1-10 to 1-8 at the break.

Dungarvan were level within two minutes of the restart with points from Duggan and Cormac Curran but the winners finished the stronger and were good value for their win.

Ballygunner proved far superior to their neighbours and arch rivals Passage East, winning by an unflattering, 3-19 to 1-8.

The first of Brian O’Sullivan’s two goals had the Gunners 1-3 to 0-3 in front and though Liam Flynn goaled for Passage in the final seconds they still trailed by 2-6 to 1-6 at the interval.

It was all Ballygunner on the turnover.

Abbeyside kept their title challenge firmly on track when they overwhelmed Stradbally 3-14 to 0-10.

First-half goals by Patrick Hurney and Mark Gorman had the winners in a commanding 2-8 to 0-5 lead at the interval, and their third goal scored by veteran Laurence Hurney completed the job.

The unlucky team of the last two championship seasons, Fourmilewater, confirmed their rating as serious title contenders with a hugely convincing eight-point victory, 2-15 to 1-10, over Ballyduff Upper at Fraher Field on Saturday.

Seventeen years-old Jamie Barron, who lined out with the county minor and U21 teams this year, was the star of the show, contributing 1-8 from his corner-forward berth and looking a youngster of exciting potential.

His goal in the 21st minute enabled Fourmile’ to lead by 1-8 to 0-5 at the interval, but it was game on again four minutes into the second-half when Stephen Molumphy goaled for Ballyduff after great work by Shane Kearney.

But Fourmile’ sent out a clear message to all in pursuit as they controlled the second-half.

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