The game had been scheduled originally as part of a double-header with the other semi-final involving Fourmilewater and Ballygunner, but the tragic passing of referee Paul Foley, a member of the Ballygunner club, meant their game was postponed.
As it was, yesterday’s contest was a free-flowing one lit up by Thomas Ryan of Tallow - his fine solo goal proved the difference between the sides and once he found his range in the second half Tallow always looked likely to win.
Tallow were quickly into their stride and two good Ryan Grey frees were followed by a terrific effort from the wing by William Henley. Ballyduff replied with a good Jamie Kearney point, and a better one from Andrew Casey - all before the first 10 minutes were up.
Ballyduff then took over. Industrious midfielder Cian Leamy almost goaled for them on 12 minutes but Tallow ‘keeper Shaun O’Sullivan turned his shot past the post; Michael Kearney tied things up from the resulting 65.
Leahy and Seamus Hannon were dominating the middle and feeding former Waterford star Stephen Molumphy, who hit a fine brace from play, and when Michael Kearney converted a close-in free it was 0-6 to 0-3 on 15 minutes.
At the other end, Thomas Ryan showed some good touches but he lacked support, and Tallow struggled to penetrate. By contrast, when Kevin Casey hit a good solo point on 18 minutes it was Ballyduff’s seventh in a row.
Stephen Molumphy was mopping up plenty of ball in the middle of the field and the movement of the Ballyduff full-forward line was causing their opponents all kinds of bother. Kieran Geary’s point on 20 minutes was Tallow’s first score in a quarter of an hour, but Andrew Casey replied from the puck-out and the impressive Michael Kearney hit another good point for the men in red.
Tallow were only holding on at this point, and were grateful for another Grey free to keep within touching distance of their opponents.
However, when William Henley chipped in with another point for Tallow, despite being second best for most of the half they were only three behind as the break approached.
They duly turned the game on its head seconds after half-time. Thomas Ryan soloed though the centre and struck a superb goal and then sub Paul Kearney scooped a goal chance over the crossbar: Tallow 1-7, Ballyduff 0-9.
Now Ballyduff were the team which couldn’t come to terms with their opponents. Ryan hit another point for Tallow, Grey knocked over a free, and when Ryan found the range from out on the wing the gap was four and Ballyduff hadn’t scored for 15 minutes.
Kevin Casey and Michael Kearney (free) got Ballyduff back in the game; Ryan, inevitably, replied for Tallow and then hit the score of the game from the sideline to make it 1-12 to 0-11 with the final 10 minutes approaching. Both sides spurned chances in the closing stages before finding their range again - Michael Kearney pointed a free but Ryan intercepted a clearance and snapped another Tallow point.
Michael Kearney cut the lead to a goal again and Ballyduff then laid siege to the Tallow goal - they were thrown back three times before Seamus Hannon blasted the ball over the bar with three minutes left. Late on, Evan Sheehan hit a good Tallow score and Stephen Molumphy hit a better one for Ballyduff. From the puck-out Tallow conceded a free in the opposition half, and Michael Kearney launched it into the Tallow goalmouth, but the ball rolled wide.
T. Ryan (1-5); R. Grey (0-4f); W. Henley (0-2); K. Geary, E. Sheehan and P. Kearney (0-1 each).
M. Kearney (0-7, 3 frees, 1 65); S. Molumphy (0-3); K. Casey, A. Casey (0-2 each); S. Hannon, J. Kearney (0-1 each).
D. Walsh, D. McDonagh, T. Molumphy, Shane Hannon, M. Kearney, S. Kearney, T. Feeney, Seamus Hannon, C. Leamy, J. Kearney, S. Molumphy (c), J. Hannon, K. Casey, A. Casey, M. Kearney.
O. HIckey for T. Molumphy, h-t, E. Scanlon for O. Hickey, 44; T. Molumphy for A. Casey, 49.
S. O’Sullivan, M. O’Brien (c), D. O’Brien, K. Kearney, A. Kearney, J. Murray, S. Feeney, P. O’Brien, K. Geary, W. Henley, B. McCarthy, R. Grey, T. Ryan, J. Henley, E. Sheehan.
J. Neville for S. Feeney, 25; P. Kearney for B. McCarthy, h-t; B. McCarthy for W. Henley, 61.
A. Kissane (Dunhill).