Waterford Senior Hurling Championship Final – Ballygunner 4-20 Passage 1-12

Ballygunner defeated Passage by 4-20 to 1-12 in the Waterford Senior Hurling Championship Final on Sunday October 23rd at Walsh Park Waterford.

Pauric Mahony’s magic drives Ballygunner as Pat Flynn is honoured

By John Fogarty for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Ballygunner 4-20 Passage 1-12: The memory of the late Pat Flynn was honoured in style by his Ballygunner clubmen as they claimed a thoroughly convincing third consecutive senior county title in front of a disappointing 3,811 Walsh Park crowd.

Former Waterford goalkeeper Flynn, father of Paul, passed away on Thursday. His funeral takes place in the parish’s St Mary’s Church this morning where there will be smiles as well as tears as the current side replicated what Flynn’s team accomplished in the late 1960s.

On a weekend where recently-deceased bastions of clubs in Munster sport were celebrated with victories, Flynn’s grandson was the team mascot. And how Flynn would have been proud of the outrageous save made by Stephen O’Keeffe from Conor Carey in the 42nd minute. Had the ball made its way past O’Keeffe, Passage may have made a better fist of upsetting Ballygunner.

Instead, the defending champions notched up the next four scores to add to the four unanswered points they had registered prior to O’Keeffe’s denial. Cillian Fitzgerald eventually brought a halt to Passage’s barren spell that amounted to 17 minutes but Ballygunner’s coup de grace came in the form of substitute Stephen Power’s 51st-minute goal, O’Keeffe providing the assist with a huge wind-aided restart.

Seconds later and man-of-the-match Pauric Mahony had added another goal to stretch Ballygunner’s advantage to 13. A Thomas Connors goal in the 54th minute brought some respectability to the scoreboard only for Passage’s opponents to reel off the last six points of the game.

In this mood, they could go all the way to Croke Park on March 17, particularly if the Mahony brothers continue the form they have demonstrated for most of 2016. Philip was excellent in the opening stages when Passage, backed by the wind, were posing more of a threat while Pauric was simply talismanic in how he brought his team-mates into the game while helping himself to scores here and there.

Both sides were fortunate not to lose a man in the third minute when a nasty row broke out after Barry Coughlan and Eoin Kelly became embroiled in a ground tussle. Michael O’Brien, after consulting with his umpire, chose to yellow card the pair but it was a let-off given that there had been at least one punch thrown and in the subsequent melee players struck with hurleys.

In the hurling stakes, Passage were out of the blocks quicker as was expected considering the breeze at their backs. Three of their first five scores came from defence as they made the most of the conditions in their favour.

Ballygunner eventually settled but were four points down when Tim O’Sullivan found the net in the 18th minute although it appeared Peter Hogan had fouled his marker in the build-up.

assage almost cancelled it out immediately when Eddie Hayden managed to block Thomas Connors but Ballygunner were celebrating a second goal three minutes later as Billy O’Keeffe shot low and true past Eddie Lynch following a blinding turn of pace by Hogan.

With a Fitzgerald free, Passage narrowed the deficit to a point, which would be the difference at half-time (2-5 to 0-10) but they looked naive in contrast to Ballygunner. Even with such a bellowing force in their favour, they were dicing with death by leaving Ballygunner’s two-man inside line in one-on-one situations with so much space to exploit.

With the two goals, all of Passage’s good work was undone and while they knocked over the last three scores of the half their task facing into the wind was always going to be onerous. Kelly, with a 20-metre free, did level matters four minutes into the second half but what followed was a period of Ballygunner dominance that ended the game as a contest to truly put to bed their defeat to their neighbours at this stage three years ago.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony (1-11, 0-7 frees); S. Power (1-1); T. O’Sullivan, B. O’Keeffe (1-0 each); B. O’Sullivan (0-4); P. Hogan (0-3); D. O’Sullivan (0-1).

Scorers for Passage: K. Fitzgerald (0-4, 3 frees); T. Connors (1-1); O. Connors, E. Kelly (0-2, 1 free each); N. Connors, A. Roche, J. Roche (0-1 each).

BALLYGUNNER: S. O’Keeffe; I. Kenny, B. Coughlan, E. Hayden; H. Barnes, Philip Mahony, S. Walsh; D. O’Sullivan, B. O’Keeffe; S. O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony, C. Power; T. O’Sullivan, B. O’Sullivan (c), P. Hogan
Subs for Ballygunner: W. Hutchinson for B. Coughlan (blood 5-8); W. Hutchinson for B. O’Keeffe (43); S. Power for H. Barnes (48); M. Mahony for C. Power (52); J. Hutchinson for T. O’Sullivan (54); J. McCarthy for P. Hogan (55).

PASSAGE: E. Lynch; J. Flood, N. Connors, D. Lynch; A. Roche, J. Roche, S. Mason; P. Walsh, S. Hogan; O. Connors (c), K. Fitzgerald; T. Connors, E. Kelly, G. Cullinane
Subs for Passage: J. Whitty for G. Cullinane (h-t); R. Hurley for C. Carey (54); C. O’Neill for K. Fitzgerald, P. Flynn for S. Mason (both 60); P. Donnellan for A. Roche (60+1).

Referee: M. O’Brien (Portlaw).

Clare Senior Football Championship Final Replay – Kilmurry / Ibrickane 2-13 Cratloe 0-6

Kilmurry / Ibrickane defeated Cratloe by 2-13 to 0-6 in the Clare Senior Football Championship Final Replay on Sunday October 23rd at Cusack Park Ennis.

Kilmurry Ibrickane win 11th Clare title

Report by Gerry Quinn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Kilmurry Ibrickane 2-13 Cratloe 0-6: A powerful second-half performance saw Kilmurry Ibrickane claim their 11th Clare SFC title in front of a crowd of 3,722 at Cusack Park, Ennis.

After a doughty, defensive, first half display, after which they led 0-6 to 0-4, the men from the west opened up in the second period, to carve through a disappointing Cratloe outfit.

Killmurry manager Aidan Moloney remarked after the game: “Whereas we had a bit of a wind in the first half, it was minimal and I don’t think it affected the game much. I think our backs really had shut the game down. It took us a while to get the hang of things but as the game went on we kept possession better and there’s no doubt we got the scores as a reward.”

In the opening half, defences dominated and scores were at a premium. Early points by Keelan Sexton and Michael Hogan got Kilmurry off to a good start and they were never lead at any point. David Collins was potentially Cratloe’s most dangerous forward but he was well marshalled by Kilmurry defender Darren Hickey. In that opening period, the southeast Clare side could only muster a single point from play, from wing-back Martin Ógie Murphy, a testament to the vigilance of the Kilmurry defensive unit.

After half time, the 2012 champions pushed on and within ten minutes of the restart had notched 1-2 without reply. Martin McMahon grabbed the game’s first goal on 39 and moments later a Mark McCarthy point put the ‘Bricks’ 1-8 to 0-4 in front.

Their attack, lead by the impressive Keelan Sexton, exerted pressure and picked off some good scores and when veteran sub Johnny Daly was pulled down in possession in injury-time, Sexton duly dispatched the resultant penalty to the Cratloe net.

Colm Collins, the Cratloe manager, was a dejected figure: “There’s no question, Kilmurry were by far the better team on the day. We didn’t show up, we didn’t play well and there’s no doubt about it, Kilmurry deserved the win.”

Scorers for Kilmurry Ibrickane: K Sexton (1-4, 1 free, 1-0 pen); M McMahon (1-0); I McInerney (frees), S Hickey, M McCarthy (0-2 each); P O’Dwyer, M O’Dwyer, M Hogan (0-1 each)

Scores for Cratloe: C McInerney (0-4, 3 frees); M Murphy (0-1); S Collins (0-1 free)

KILMURRY IBRICKANE: I McInerney, M McMahon, D Hickey, M Kileen, D Sexton, C Morissey, D Callinan, M McCarthy, K King, M O’Dwyer, S Hickey, M Hogan, K Sexton, P O’Dwyer, E Coughlan
Subs: N Downes for Callinan (42), N Hickey for Downes inj. (48), E Talty for Morissey (56), J Daly for M O’Dwyer (69).

CRATLOE: P DeLoughrey (Capt.),S Chaplin, B Duggan, L Markham, M Ógie Murphy, M Hawes, E Boyce, C Ryan, J Galvin, A McFaddan, S Collins, S Gleeson, C McInerney, P Collins, D Collins
Subs: C Cooney for McFaddan inj., (13), S McHugh for Gleeson (41).

Referee: P Cosgrove (Corofin)

Limerick Senior Hurling Championship Final – Patrickswell 1-26 Ballybrown 1-7

Patrickswell defeated Ballybrown by 1-26 to 1-7 in the Limerick Senior Hurling Championship Final on Sunday October 23rd at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Magnificent Patrickswell still pride of the parish

Report by Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Patrickswell 1-26 Ballybrown 1-7: Where parish rivalry is concerned, Patrickswell continue to hold the Indian sign over neighbours Ballybrown. Of far more importance to the famed Limerick club, though, is that blue and gold ribbons once more hang from the John Daly Cup.

Yesterday afternoon’s 19-point hammering of Ballybrown was the most one-sided Limerick senior hurling final since the Patrickswell class of 1970 held Kilmallock to just two points. The manner of this latest victory, or indeed the final scoreline, was of little significance to the ‘Well’s current crop as they celebrated at the final whistle. Solely concerning them was that the club’s 13-year wait for senior glory had been ended.

The win moves Patrickswell to the top of the local roll of honour with Ahane – both clubs boast 19 titles – while also extending their dominance over Ballybrown on county final afternoon. Yesterday’s contest marked the fourth occasion the two clubs, who are pulled from the one parish, had locked horns on the concluding afternoon of the Limerick championship. And just as was the case in 1983, ’87 and ’95, the ‘Well had too much for the team next door.

For 39-year old midfielder Barry Foley, there was a seventh county medal to celebrate. He pocketed his first in the autumn of 1993. Perfectly capturing his longevity in the blue and gold jersey is that many of his current team-mates, including top-scorers Cian Lynch, Aaron Gillane and centre-back Diarmuid Byrnes, were not even born on that successful afternoon 23-years ago.

Indeed, it was Foley’s first point of the afternoon on 44 minutes which completed the scoring contribution of the front eight. Moreover, it was the seventh in a string of unanswered points which saw Gary Kirby’s charges outscore their opponents by 0-9 to 0-1 upon the resumption. With the scoreboard reading 1-19 to 0-7, it was game over. In truth, this contest had long since been decided.

Returning back down the tunnel to the right of the Mackey Stand for the interval break, Patrickswell had moved a good deal closer to bridging their 13-year wait. 1-10 to 0-5 they led. Their advantage was largely born out of Ballybrown’s dreadful inefficiency in front of goal – Evan Loftus’ charges finished the opening period with 12 wides.

Crucial too in the establishment of daylight between the sides was the ‘Well’s unanswered 1-4 between the seventh and 14th minute. With Stephen Foster and Alan O’Connor having cancelled out early scores from Lynch and Gillane, Gary Kirby’s side returned to the front with points from Diarmuid Byrnes (0-2, 0-1 ’65), Thomas O’Brien and Lynch.

On 14 minutes, the favourites sped further clear. Thomas O’Brien gathered Mark Carmody’s delivery into the right corner, offloaded to Lar Considine who pulled the sliotar across the square where the unmarked Kevin O’Brien was left with the simplest of finishes. Kyle Loftus and Alan O’Connor split the posts in the ensuing passages to pare the margin back to five. But that was the beginning and end of the Ballybrown comeback. If you could even call that. Jack Kelleher, Gillane (free), Thomas O’Brien and the lively Lynch swelled their tally before the break and it was more of the same in the second period.

For Ballybrown, their first-half shooting and collective failure to reappear for the second period will hurt most during the quiet winter months. Loftus’ troops managed a meagre 1-2 in the closing 35 minutes of action, with Stephen Foster shooting a 50th minute consolation goal.

Scorers for Patrickswell: A Gillane (0-7, 0-5 frees); D Byrnes (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); C Lynch (0-3); K O’Brien (1-0); S O’Brien, J Kelleher, B Foley, T O’Brien (0-2 each); M Carmody, L Considine (0-1 each).

Scorers for Ballybrown: S Foster (1-1); A O’Connor (0-4, 0-3 frees); L Doolan, K Loftus (0-1 each).

Patrickswell: B Murray; N Carmody, J Mann, T Nolan; M Carmody, D Byrnes, N Foley; B Foley, J Kelleher; A Gillane, S O’Brien, C Lynch; T O’Brien, K O’Brien, L Considine
Subs: J Flynn for Nolan (56 mins); P Harty for S O’Brien (56); A Carroll for Considine (56); D Woulfe for K O’Brien (58); K Dundon for N Carmody (58).

Ballybrown: C Hedderman; L Doran, M Kiely, S O’Reilly; J Adams, R Kenny, D Kenny; S Kenny, S Foster; R Griffin, L Doolan, B Griffin; D Hall, K Loftus, A O’Connor.

Subs: M Sheehan for Hall (41 mins); A Cliffe for Doolan (41 mins); J Hall for Griffin (48); D Hartnett for Adams (55).

Referee: J Mullins (St Kieran’s).