Three stunning saves from Shaun O’Brien and 11 Jack Fagan points saw De La Salle come from seven points down to edge Lismore 2-21 to 1-18 in a thriller at Fraher Field yesterday.
Manager Brian Phelan heaped praised on O’Brien for his commitment to the cause. “That man had a christening today at 1.30 and he left his his family at 2.30 to come straight up here. I’d give that man a lot of credit.” Phelan predicts big things for O’Brien. “He is a future Waterford keeper to be honest if people pay attention to him.”
Fagan is another that could enter Paraic Fanning’s radar. The All Ireland U21 winner shot nine second half points - four frees, three from play, a 65 and a sideline - in a tremendous display of accuracy.
Phelan said: “He was away in Australia last year but he deserves to be on the Waterford panel. Hopefully he might get a call-up. Looking at a lot of the games over the weekend, he was the best player on show.”
DLS trailed by seven on three occasions but got their noses in front when Eddie Meaney rifled to the top corner on 57 minutes. Maurice Shanahan also enhanced his inter-county prospects with 12 points (six frees and six from play). Older brother Dan watched from the sideline in his new role as a selector.
The Westerners led 1-12 to 1-5 at the break after playing with the wind. Cormac McCann claimed a first-minute goal for De La Salle but Ray Barry whipped home at the other end as Lismore hit 1-5 without reply. O’Brien thwarted Barry and Paudie Prendergast but the best of the lot was an acrobatic stop from a Shanahan shot midway through the second period.
In the curtain raiser, a 63rd minute point by Gavin Crotty gave Dungarvan a slender 0-22 to 3-12 win over Tallow.
Déise forward Thomas Ryan struck an 11-minute hat-trick to level matters for the seventh time before Crotty grabbed a late, late winner.
Ryan finished with 3-6 but missed seven frees for the Bridesiders (five in the second half). Patrick Curran hit ten points for their opponents.
With the wind at their backs, Tallow got the last three points of the first half through Ryan, Ryan Grey and Jordan Henley to gain a 10-8 advantage.
Two long distance points by former county man Jamie Nagle put Dungarvan 18-12 to the good with nine minutes left. Ryan rallied the Tallow troops with a 52nd minute penalty and an unstoppable shot to the net two minutes later. Dungarvan replied with three points before Ryan whipped in a third. But it was Crotty who had the last laugh.
Pauric Mahony hit 16 points as champions Ballygunner began their six in a row bid with a 2-26 to 0-18 win against 2018 intermediate winners Clonea at Walsh Park on Saturday. They are now unbeaten in 28 Waterford SHC matches.
Darragh O’Sullivan has replaced Fergal Hartley as Gunners boss and could call on ten of the team that started the All-Ireland semi-final against Ballyhale Shamrocks. Peter Hogan, who finished on 1-3, and Barry O’Sullivan netted second-half goals. Waterford panellist Billy Power hit 11 points for the newcomers.
Mount Sion beat Eastern rivals Roanmore for the third year in a row (3-17 to 0-13). John Meaney’s men outscored their opponents 3-9 to 0-1 in a one-sided second half. Roanmore duo Eamonn Power and Brian Nolan got their marching orders.
Wind assisted Roanmore earned a 0-12 to 0-8 half time advantage. Gavin O’Brien landed six frees and extended their lead early in the second half but the Sky Blues wouldn’t score again. Evan McGrath goaled twice in the last quarter and Martin F O’Neill added another in injury time.
Neil Montgomery scored 2-3 from play as Abbeyside got the better of Fourmilewater 2-16 to 0-13.
Last year’s runners-up made the perfect start with a first minute Montgomery goal. He hurled for UCC on Tuesday, striking 0-3 against Muskerry. Fourmile fought back and seven brilliant Jamie Barron points (three from play) brought them level by the break (0-9 to 1-6).
Montgomery crashed home his second major on 39 minutes while free taker Mark Ferncombe increased his tally to 0-7.
Passage produced a strong second half to see off Ballyduff Upper 2-17 to 2-13 with goals from Eoghan Reilly and Liam Flynn.
Two Michael Kearney goals gave Ballyduff a 2-9 to 1-8 cushion after 40 minutes. Passage fired 1-6 without reply however including 1-2 from super sub Flynn. Jason Flood was dismissed on two yellows in injury time. The winners could afford to shoot 16 wides.