Waterford hurlers suffered a massive pre-championship blow with the news Pauric Mahony has been ruled out for the entire campaign.
The talented Ballygunner attacker, who made his senior championship debut against Limerick last June, underwent surgery on a groin injury over the weekend and has been ruled out for four months.
Mahony was hampered by the groin injury during the league and was left with no option but to undergo surgery to cure the complaint.
Meanwhile, reigning Waterford senior hurling champions Ballygunner got their defence off to a winning start when they had five points to spare over Abbeyside, 0-17 to 0-12, at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, on Saturday evening.
The Gunners led 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time with Stephen Power at his unerring best, hitting eight scores, all but one of them coming from placed balls.
Power continued to find his range on the turnover, ending the hour with a highly creditable 12-point tally to his credit.
The most convincing winners of the weekend were pre-championship favourites De La Salle who put title-laden Mount Sion to the sword at Walsh Park, on a 3-16 to 1-13scoreline.
For once the great John Mullane was in relatively subdued form, but recent transfer recruit and former county star Jack Kennedy was at his best in his full-forward role.
Goals by Paudi Nevin and Jake Dillon helped De La Salle to a commanding 2-8 to 0-6 half-time lead, and when Dillon added a third within seven minutes of the restart the game was over.
Championship dark horses Fourmilewater romped to victory over Roanmore by an unflattering 14 points, 3-12 to 0-7.
First-half goals by Shane Ryan and Jamie Barron helped Fourmile to a 2-9 to 0-2 interval lead and Shane Walsh added their third before he and a number of regulars were substituted.
Passage East, even without their injured All Star defender Noel Connors, edged out Ballyduff Upper in a game that went right down to the wire.
With Eoin Kelly scoring a superb goal Passage were well worth their 1-11 to 0-8 half-time lead. Kelly added an equally fine point in the 45th minute but that was to be the winners’ last score as Ballyduff laid siege.
Four Brendan Hannon pointed frees made it a nervous finish for Passage but they tenaciously held on.
In the game of the weekend Lismore edged out luckless Dungarvan by 1-20 to 1-17 in a thrilling encounter last night.
Leading by 0-10 to 0-8 at half-time, they seemed to have weathered the Dungarvan storm thanks to some great Maurice Shanahan scores.
The losers were then reduced to 14 players when Michael Power was red carded but goaled through Gavin Crotty only to finally succumb to Shanahan’s match-winning goal deep into added time.
For Shanahan the game was a personal triumph and without his massive 1-12 tally Dungarvan would have created a major upset.
Tallow beat last year’s IHC Dunhill by 2-16 to 1-13 in the second game last night.
All goals came in the opening half with Evan Sheehan and Thomas Ryan on the mark for Tallow with Shane Casey replying for the losers and Tallow led at the break by 2-7 to 1-8.
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