Gunners and Mount Sion earn reprieve

On a weekend that provided more than its fair share of drama, only three of the quarter-finalists have been confirmed after the penultimate round of games in the group stage of the title race.

Fourmilewater, who were already guaranteed their place in the last eight before they took on Dunhill at Fraher Field, made it four wins out of four with an untroubled 0-18 to 1-8 victory over last year’s IHC champions.

It was the least impressive of Fourmilewater’s run but even without county star Shane Walsh and the experienced Maurice O’Gorman they were always in control.

They led by 0-13 to 0-2 at half-time and despite a superb 44-minute goal by the outstanding Eamonn Murphy they won with more than a little to spare.

A pointed free from a penalty gave Lismore their 0-12 to 1-9 draw against Abbeyside at Fraher Field and with it their passage into the quarter-finals.

Played in incessant rain, with Maurice Shanahan supplying half a dozen points, Lismore led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval. Mark Gorman’s 34th minute goal was the score that ignited Abbeyside and when they edged a point in front with time almost up victory for them seemed assured.

But there was late drama as Lismore won a penalty in the dying seconds and, knowing a draw would be enough, opted for the equalising point.

Championship favourites De La Salle also reached the last eight with a facile 4-23 to 0-9 victory over city rivals Roanmore at Walsh Park yesterday.

It was nothing other than a summer stroll De La Salle who bagged a hat-trick of goals from John Mullane, Jake Dillon and John Keane and they were out of sight when they led by 3-12 to 0-4 at the interval.

The weekend action provided championship reprieves for two of the big guns, titleholders Ballygunner and title laden Mount Sion, both of whom were facing relegation before their respective victories over Passage East and Tallow.

The Gunners were in deep trouble against Passage at Walsh Park when they trailed by 2-7 to 0-5 at half time, both of the Passage goals coming from Eoin Kelly 20m frees. The champions however introduced former county star Fergal Hartley for the second half and the veteran defender had a huge input into his side’s eventual 1-16 to 2-11 victory.

A JJ Hutchinson goal galvanised the Gunners and late points by David O’Sullivan and Barry Mullane rescued victory from the jaws of defeat.

Mount Sion, without a win from their three championship starts, also relied on second half dominance to clinch their 2-15 to 0-15 victory over Tallow at Fraher Field.

First half goals by Sean Ryan and Martin O’Neill were not enough however to prevent Tallow leading by 0-10 to 2-3 at the break. However, Sion sealed victory with a flurry of late points from O’Neill (two), Ryan (two) and Michael Gaffney.

Not even a hat-trick of goals by the former county custodian Adrian Power could save Ballyduff Upper from defeat against Dungarvan.

Dungarvan were deserving winners, 2-21 to 4-9, with the outstanding Cormac Curran contributing a massive 13 points to the winners tally.

Power’s three goals for Ballyduff came from a first half penalty and from a brace of 20m second half frees.

He is believed to be the first hurling goalkeeper to register a hat-trick in a senior championship game in the county.

Those late Ballyduff goals gave the scoreline a flattering look with Dungarvan the masters for most of the hour. Statistically, however, the winners are still not assured of their place in the quarter-finals, although it would take a series of unlikely results in the final round of group games to deny them.

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