Gunners find their range

Ballygunner gritted their teeth to take the spoils in a crunch championship tie against 14-man Dungarvan last night at Fraher Field (1-19 to 2-13).

This result leaves Group 2 delicately poised ahead of next weekend’s final round as Dungarvan face up to fierce rivals Abbeyside while Ballygunner meet Passage. Ballygunner and Abbeyside are favourites to grab the remaining two quarter-final spots on four points as Dungarvan lie on three points.

A highly-motivated Gunners outfit coasted into a 1-12 to 0-6 lead by half-time. Pauric Mahony played in a roving centre-forward role and cleaned up with seven first-half points, four long-range frees and three from play. He also created the goal on the stroke of half-time for Shane O’Sullivan, who drilled a low stinger past Darren Duggan.

Their short puck-out policy worked a treat throughout and they were able to shake off a mini second-half revival from the Blues. Mahony accumulated 11 points all told and corner men Brian O’Sullivan and JJ Hutchinson also chipped in handsomely with seven points between them. Gavin Crotty was sent off on a second yellow card on 45 minutes but Dungarvan made a late rally as Jamie Nagle and Ryan Donnelly lashed in consolation goals.

On Saturday evening, Passage staged a late fightback to shove Mount Sion off top spot in Group 2 at Walsh Park (2-15 to 2-12). John Whitty’s superb injury-time strike completed their recovery mission from four points back and kept Peter Queally’s side unbeaten.

Sion shaded an error-ridden first half by 1-6 to 1-5. Eoin Kelly drilled home a 21- metre free after 10 minutes to collect his sixth goal of the championship but Anthony Kirwan’s charges quickly repaired the damage. On 18 minutes, Michael Gaffney followed up after Richie Roche’s shot was saved to put Sion into a lead that they held until the short whistle.

The standard improved on the restart and Sion sprinted four points ahead through a brace from Stephen Roche and one from Eoin McGrath. Led by Owen Whelan, they exerted dominance in the half-back line and up front, Sean Ryan won plenty of primary possession, assisted by Roche. Aided by the breeze, Passage arrested the slide to make it all square (1-10 each) by the end of the third quarter. A well-worked move resulted in Ryan finding the net to put Sion four up with nine minutes left.

Passage persisted and none more so than John Whitty who forced a wonder save from Ian O’Regan. Richard Hurley, Pa Walsh and Eoin Kelly pared the deficit down to one before Whitty sliced through and drove his shot hard to the far corner. Kelly wrapped up the win to finish with 1-8 to his credit.

In the second game of the double bill, Abbeyside annihilated Roanmore (6-20 to 0-13) as Patrick Hurney shot a staggering 5-2. Relegation threatened Roanmore were short several regulars and Hurney’s double blast left them eight adrift by half time (2-12 to 0-10). The agile full forward completed his hat-trick 10 minutes into the second half and another attacking menace, Mark Fives added a fourth to close the third quarter. Hurney obliged for his fourth on 53 minutes after a dangerous delivery from Michael O’Halloran and two minutes later he fired a fifth goal. Better known as an inter-county footballer, Hurney has now rattled off 7-5 in four games with the small ball. Mark Fives also made a sparkling contribution of 1-7.

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