Ballyduff Upper and Tallow both caused quarter-final upsets in the Waterford senior hurling championship at a rain soaked Fraher Field last night.
Ballyduff stunned 2013 winners Passage in a thriller (1-12 to 1-10) with Shane Hannon, Shane Kearney, Tom Feeney and Seamus Hannon among their many heroes along with sharp shooting Mikey Kearney.
After losing their first three championship games, Ballyduff Upper turned their season around with three consecutive wins and are now an hour away from the decider.
Passage, who came into the game unbeaten in their five group games, will rue a wides tally of eleven.
“We knew that this performance was in that team all year,” said winning manager Eoin Hickey. “We have been hurling well in challenge games but we just didn’t bring it to the first couple of rounds of the championship. We have as honest a bunch of players that’s in the county.”
In dismal weather, Ballyduff bolted 1-6 to 0-1 clear in the first quarter. Mikey Kearney supplied three points set up Andrew Casey for the goal. Three Eoin Kelly frees left Passage trailing by four (1-8 to 0-7) at the break.
Mikey and Jamie Kearney extended the Ballyduff Upper lead to six early in the second period before Passage pounded away with points from Eoin Kelly and Owen Connors.
Ballyduff restored their six point advantage with Mikey and Jamie Kearney to the fore once again but they had to withstand an avalanche of Passage attacks late on.
Thomas Whitty goaled from a rebound with four minutes remaining before David Walsh parried away a Noel Connors shot. With all but one of their players back in defence, Ballyduff heroically held out for victory.
Two goals in the space of 60 dramatic seconds saw Tallow surprise Dungarvan by 3-13 to 0-18 in the final quarter-final clash last night. Dungarvan led by four points with 57 minutes on the watch (0-18 to 1-11) before Terence McSweeney’s side stung the Blues with a rapid double blast. Two stunning Ryan Grey strikes sets up a semi-final with neighbours Ballyduff Upper.
A strong second quarter showing gave the Blues a 0-12 to 1-5 halfway lead. On 13 minutes, Aidan Kearney’s delivery was fumbled by Dungarvan goalkeeper Darren Duggan and Evan Sheehan reacted quickest to whip to the net (1-3 to 0-4). Ryan Donnelly’s contribution of three points from play was crucial as Dungarvan rebounded before the interval. Thomas Ryan hit 0-7 to keep the Bridesiders in contention before that grandstand finish.
Ballygunner repelled a final quarter assault from rivals Mount Sion to come away with a 2-12 to 0-12 win on Saturday evening at Walsh Park.
In a game littered with mistakes, the title holders led from start to finish but needed an injury time goal from Stephen Power to ease the nerves.
The Gunners looked comfortable when they surged seven points clear on 42 minutes (1-12 to 0-8). Sion went for broke down the final quarter as Austin Gleeson moved up into attack. They got within three points but 14 second half wides and 18 in total undermined their efforts. The Gunners didn’t score for 20 minutes before Power’s late strike.
Winning manager Denis Walsh said: “They got their purple patch and luckily we didn’t concede many scores. In the first seven or eight minutes, they had five wides and most of them were scoreable. The scoreline probably flatters us a little bit in that we got a goal late on.”
Billy O’Keeffe’s stunning individual goal on 23 minutes pushed them 1-8 to 0-7 ahead at half time. He set off on a solo run from midfield before rifling to the top corner of Ian O’Regan’s net.
Sion resumed with seven wides in succession. The Gunners punished that poor shooting through three Brian O’Sullivan frees and a Billy O’Keeffe effort from distance as the gap widened to seven. A brace by Austin Gleeson and three Martin F O’Neill frees hinted at a Sion recovery but their wayward shooting was to prove costly.
Fourmilewater continued their rich vein of form with a 1-12 to 1-7 success against Roanmore on Saturday. Craig Guiry (1-4) and Conor Gleeson (0-5) did the bulk of the scoring for the Ballymacarbry men. The winners played the majority of the game without their talisman Jamie Barron, forced off with a first half hand injury.
They raced nine points in front with 19 minutes on the watch. On the quarter hour, Maurice O’Gorman’s crossfield pass picked out Craig Guiry who finished from close range. Guiry finished the half on 1-2 while Conor Gleeson raised four white flags.
Roanmore got back within six by the break (1-7 to 0-4) with Emmett O’Toole, Brian Nolan and Daniel Murphy all on target. Points from experienced pair Brian Wall and Shane Walsh maintained Fourmilewater’s strong position in the second period before Thomas O’Gorman brought down Eoin Madigan for a Roanmore penalty.
After a four minute delay, goalkeeper David Barrett fired his shot right and wide. Guiry knocked over two long distance points to extend the lead to nine.
Paul O’Sullivan earned a second penalty for the Sky Blues in injury time and Gavin O’Brien stepped forward this time to strike to the bottom corner.
Ballyduff Upper v Tallow, Fourmilewater v Ballygunner