Just three points separated the arch rivals in the end, 2-15 to 2-12, but it took a late rally by the Gunners and a brace of Harley Barnes goals to set up an exciting and tense finale.
It was all Sion in the opening half and a goal by veteran full forward Anthony Kirwan in the third minute gave them the perfect start. They added a second from Ian Galgey on the quarter hour and with Ken McGrath reviving memories of some of his greatest inter-county days from the centre-forward berth they went in at the break with a commanding 2-10 to 0-7 lead.
Little changed in the third quarter but to the Gunners great credit they mounted a tremendous last quarter rally that left them just one score adrift at the hour’s end.
Champions De La Salle, inspired yet again by the outstanding John Mullane, always had a bit in hand against Ballyduff Upper and were more than good value for their 1-16 to 1-11 victory.
The consolation for the losers was the news that Abbeyside had lost to Fourmilewater and that result was good enough to squeeze them into the quarter-final.
The winners also led by five points, 0-11 to 0-6 at the interval, but Stephen Molumphy’s 46th-minute goal threw Ballyduff a lifeline and narrowed the deficit to the minimum. Mullane to the rescue yet again however for De La Salle and his three rapid-fire points followed by a 57th minute goal from Paudie Nevin finally settled the outcome.
Although they were already doomed to a relegation battle, Stradbally came within seconds of causing the upset of the weekend when they were denied victory with a last-gasp Dave Bennett equaliser that gave Lismore a division of the spoils, 2-16 to 3-13, at Fraher Field.
Although Maurice Shanahan, who ended with a personal tally of 2-8, had the ball in the Stradbally net inside 30 seconds, it was Stradbally who led at the interval by a decisive 10 points, 3-10 to 1-6.
The introduction of former county star Dave Bennett ignited Lismore’s second-half rally and after Shanahan scored his second goal in the 54th minute it fell to Bennett to rescue Lismore with a levelling point seconds before the final whistle.
The Cappoquin venue hosted one of the best games of the weekend with Fourmilewater eventually edging out Abbeyside on a 1-14 to 2-7 scoreline.
Mark Fives and county star Shane Walsh traded first half goals with Fourmile ahead by the minimum, 1-5 to 1-4, at the break.
Abbeyside however were guilty of several bad, and ultimately costly, wides and looked in real trouble as the winners eased five points clear within 10 minutes of the restart.
Mark Ferncombe’s 52nd-minute goal again charged the Abbeyside challenge, but in a tight and tense finish points from Michael O’Gorman and Shane Walsh sealed Fourmile’s victory, A brace of goals in each half were the decisive scores in Tallow’s 4-15 to 0-16 victory over Roanmore at Fraher Field and with it a place in the quarter finals.
Although Roanmore dominated the first half territorially they conceded goals cheaply to Donncha Mulcahy in the 12th minute and to Eoin Condon on 28 minutes that enabled Tallow to lead, pretty much against the run of play, by 2-7 to 0-9 at the interval.
Effectively the game was over as a contest within 12 minutes of the restart when the winners bagged two more quality goals by Brian Henley and Thomas Ryan’s and thereafter it was all plain sailing for them.
With Eoin Kelly and Noel Connors hitting peak form Passage East booked their place in the last eight with a 5-8 to 2-10 victory over Dungarvan at Leamybrien.
Kelly did most of the damage up front and capped a fine individual performance with a personal tally of 2-5.
Goals by Patrick Walsh in the third and 19th minutes enabled Passage to lead by 2-5 to 1-4 at the break, and Kelly’s two goals killed off Dungavan’s challenge.
Karl Duggan lashed a Dungarvan penalty to the net in the 52nd minute to give his side hope but the final say fell to Passage when substitute Nicky Quinlan goaled.
Waterford SHC quarter-final draw: De La Salle v Passage East, Lismore v Tallow, Mount Sion v Ballyduff Upper, Ballygunner v Fourmilewater. Roanmore and Stradbally will meet in a relegation decider.