Mount Sion end Gunners’ reign

Mount Sion 0-16 Ballygunner 2-8

Barry Mullane’s fifth-minute goal gave Ballygunner a dream start but they failed to build on that strike in a sometimes fractious opening half. Instead the accurate free-taking of Martin O’Neill kept Mount Sion in touch, although they had goalkeeper Iggy O’Regan to thank when he denied JJ Hutchinson before the interval.

At the other end, the Gunners goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe excelled in keeping out a Stephen Roche effort as the sides retired level (1-3 to 0-6) at the break.

The sides continued to trade points on the restart as the standard of hurling dramatically improved on a mediocre first-half display.

Again O’Regan’s heroics were to the fore, denying Hutchinson and then Barry Mullane at the expense of a 65 which Paraic Mahony pointed to again leave the sides level.

But then came a Mount Sion purple patch. Five rapid points including two strikes from influential substitute Anthony Kirwan confirmed their superiority.

But Ballygunner hit back with a David O’Sullivan goal on 58 minutes that had the deficit down to a point and it set the scene for a tense finish.

That final say rested with Mount Sion and the great Ken McGrath rolled back the years with a point to end the reign of the champions.

Mount Sion face De La Salle on Saturday, September 29 at Walsh Park (5pm) while Fourmilewater meet Dungarvan on September 30 at 6pm.

Scorers for Mount Sion: M. O’Neill (0-8, 7f, 1 ‘65); K. McGrath (0-2); A. Kirwan (0-2); S. Roche (0-2); M. Gaffney, A. Gleeson (0-1) each.

Scorers for Ballygunner: D. O’Sullivan (1-2); Paraic Mahony (0-4, 3f, 1 ‘65’); B. Mullane (1-0); S. O’Sullivan, C. Kehoe (0-1) each.

MOUNT SION: I. O’Regan; J. Dee, J. O’Leary, S. O’Neill; C. Ryan, T. Browne, K. Stafford; M. Gaffney, E. Whelan; E. McGrath, K. McGrath, A. Gleeson; M. O’Neill, S. Ryan, S. Roche.

Subs: Anthony Kirwan for Whelan (22); M. King for Dee (45).

BALLYGUNNER: S. O’Keeffe; J. Kearney, S. O’Keeffe, B. Coughlan; S. Walsh, Philip Mahony, Alan Kirwan; S. O’Sullivan, C. Kehoe; D. O’Sullivan, W. Hutchinson, Paraic Mahony; JJ Hutchinson, B. Mullane. C. Power.

Subs: B. O’Sullivan for Power (38); H. Barnes for Mullane (46); F. Hartley for Kehoe (54).

Referee: Pat Casey, Cappoquin.

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