Two players were booked before throw-in, while the sides became embroiled in a nasty clash as they headed for the dressing room at the interval.
Sadly the scenes took away from a thrilling game of hurling Ballyduff boss Gerry Wallace described as “probably one of the best games of club hurling seen in 10 years”.
After Ballyduff full-back Padraig O’Grady and Causeway full-forward Eamonn Fitzgerald were booked for a pre-match scuffle the game wasn’t long coming to the boil.
The stars of the show were the respective free-takers, with Paul McGrath (Causeway) landing 12 points and Padraig Boyle (Ballyduff) firing over 11.
Ballyduff should have goaled early on but Tadgh Flynn denied Martin O’Connor with a great save before Causeway’s Eamon Fitzgerald flicked a Muiris Delaney sideline cut to the net in the 10th minute.
However, Ballyduff responded with two goals in as many minutes through Aidan Boyle and Martin O’Connor.
Paul McGrath from a 65 and a free soon levelled the contest before efforts from Padraig Boyle and sub Thomas O’Rourke saw Ballyduff edge four clear.
However, three McGrath points on the trot saw Ballyduff retire two points in front (2-4 to 1-5), but the tension was palatable and things spilled over as the sides headed down the tunnel.
Two early McGrath points levelled the game again by the 37th minute and it was nip and tuck for the remainder of the half, with never more than two points between the sides. Causeway then had Eamonn Fitzgerald sent off for a second yellow in the 50th minute before Boyle levelled the contest again with four minutes left. Colm Harty then gave Causeway the lead before Boyle struck to force extra-time.
McGrath and Boyle continued to trade points, with Causeway leading 1-14 to 2-10 at the end of the first period.
Boyle levelled the contest from play and then swapped points with McGrath as Causeway came to the fore, with Kenneth Leahy edging them one ahead. Colm Harty missed a glorious chance of sealing the Causeway win but, in one last attack, Ballyduff won a 65 and Padraig Boyle kept his nerve.
Wallace said: “Anyone that was in Austin Stack Park would have witnessed probably one of the best games of club hurling seen in 10 years. It had everything from good hurling to mini fracas, to an incident at half time, and some brilliant scores on both sides.
“We have won the three-in-a-row, some of our players are now aging, we have a lot of young players coming and trying to learn their trade. I believe that we will come on again from this game.”
Scorers for Ballyduff: P Boyle 0-11 (2 65s, 5f), A Boyle and M O’Connor 1-0 each, T O’Rourke 0-1.
Scorers for Causeway: P McGrath 0-12 (6f, 1 65), E Fitzgerald 1-0, C Harty 0-2, J Leahy and K Leahy 0-1 each
BALLYDUFF: PJ O’Gorman, D Bowler, P O’Grady, J Bowler, A O’Connor, L Boyle, D Goulding, E O’Connor, B O’Sullivan, A Boyle, G O’Brien, B O’Grady, P J Connolly, P Boyle, M O’Connor
Subs: T O’Rourke for P J Connolly (18), J P Leahy for D Bowler (h/t) P J Connolly for M O’Connor (45), D O’Carroll for P J Connolly (e/t), C Kearney for J P Leahy (e/t), M O’Connor for E O’Connor (e/t)
CAUSEWAY: T Flynn, K Leahy, B Murphy, T Casey, T Barrett, J Leahy, F Carroll, A Fealy, M Delaney, M Lynch, K Carmody, P McGrath, C Harty, E Fitzgerald, A White
Subs: P O’Connor for A White (26), K Leahy for M Lynch (60), A White for E Fitzgerald (e/t), J Fitzgerald for B Murphy (e/t), M Lynch for A White (e/t)
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).