Waterford Senior Hurling Final – Ballygunner 2-16 Mount Sion 0-9

Ballygunner defeated Mount Sion by 2-16 to 0-9 in the Waterford Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 5th at Walsh Park Waterford.

Redemption for gallant Gunners

By Michael Moynihan, Walsh Park for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Ballygunner 2-16 Mount Sion 0-9

Ballygunner were far too strong for Mount Sion in a disappointing Waterford SHC final yesterday, outscoring their opponents 11 points to two after half-time. In wintry conditions the men in red and black were far more clinical, with free-taker Padraic Mahony’s accuracy and the industry of Shane O’Sullivan crucial to their victory.

Mount Sion will be disappointed with their display, losing Austin Gleeson late on to a second yellow as their frustration became all too evident and their discipline frayed. They were within touching distance at half-time but fell away badly in the second half.

The winners were exultant, understandably – all the more so after their heartbreaking defeat last year, when they were caught on the line by underdogs Passage, who surged past with two late late goals for a sensational win. It was a defeat that made yesterday all the sweeter. “It’s the club, my club since I was seven years of age,” said manager Fergal Hartley afterwards. “I’m involved with this (senior) team since 1989, so yeah, it’s emotional. It means an awful lot, of course it does.”

Hartley acknowledged that last year’s late collapse had been a factor in driving the team on for this title: “The win was born in January, February, but the motivation to do all the work goes back to last year. “We didn’t mention it all year, we certainly didn’t mention it today — and in fairness to Passage, they deserved that win on the day and I wouldn’t take from them, but we would have felt we got in a winning position that day. That drove us on, absolutely.”

Ballygunner started with the breeze, playing into the scoreboard end, and had 1-2 on the board within six minutes, their goal thanks to Brian O’Sullivan’s quick hands when a Padraic Mahony free dropped short. Driven on by Austin Gleeson’s energy at centre-back, however, Mount Sion had the better of the ensuing exchanges even if they couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. However, on 14 minutes Brian O’Sullivan collected a Harley Barnes delivery, rounded his man and goaled neatly from close range: 2-3 to 0-2.

Mount Sion responded with three Martin O’Neill frees and were only four points behind at half-time. ‘Gunners manager Hartley admitted afterwards that he felt his team would have needed a healthier lead facing into the wind, but the game turned in the ten minutes following the break.

Not only did Ballygunner hit four points to Sion’s one, but the Monastery side missed two goal chances, Ian Galgey batting wide with the goal gaping, and Tony Browne’s instinctive flick on a loose ball flying just past the post. Unfortunately for neutrals in the 3,206 attendance, the game ran out of steam long before the end, Ballygunner hitting the last seven points on the trot. Mount Sion needed goals to have any chance, but their opponents’ defence was disciplined, organised and resilient.

“We’ve a good defence,” said Hartley. “We’ve a good team overall, a big physical team. “We take the plaudits today but the team is the result of years and years of amazing work by people like Mick Mahony, Stephen Frampton, Billy O’Sullivan, all the people who train our juvenile teams. “They don’t just arrive, they’re trained well and now they’re serious hurlers.”

The manager said that last year’s late collapse hadn’t played on his players’ minds. “No, I’d hope it wouldn’t, I think if you keep thinking about something like that it’s more likely to happen again. “That’s history now. You’re always worried in the sense that you’re not sure until the very last minute, but last year is history for us.”

Scorers for Mt Sion: M. O’Neill 0-7 (fs); R. Roche, I. Galgey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Padraic Mahony 0-10 (0-7 fs, 0-1 65); Brian O’Sullivan 2-2; JJ Hutchinson 0-2; Barry O’Sullivan and H. Barnes 0-1 each.

MOUNT SION: I. O’Regan, M. Hogan, C. Ryan, S. O’Neill, M. Gaffney (c), A. Gleeson, O. Whelan, Martin O’Neill, S. Roche, T. Browne, E. McGrath, Martin F. O’Neill, R. Roche, S. Ryan, I.Galgey.
Subs: P. Penkert for C. Ryan HT; K. Stafford for S. Ryan, 47; M. Daykin for R. Roche, 50; G. Carroll for M. F. O’Neill, 51.

BALLYGUNNER: S. O’Keeffe, A. Kirwan, B. Coughlin, Stephen O’Keeffe, Philip Mahony (joint captain), W. Hutchinson, S. Walshe, H. Barnes (joint captain), Barry O’Sullivan, D. O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan, JJ Hutchinson, C. Power.
Subs: P. Hogan for C. Power, 38; C. Sheahan for Barry O’Sullivan (blood 48-53); C. Sheahan for David O’Sullivan, 53; S. Power for Barry O’Sullivan, 56; R. Cunningham for A. Kirwan, 58; G. Molloy for H. Barnes, 59.

Referee: M. Curran (Sean-Phobal)

Clare Senior Hurling Final – Cratloe 0-14 Crusheen 0-6

Cratloe defeated Crusheen by 0-14 to 0-6 in the Clare Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 5th at Cusack Park Ennis.

Golden generation add extra lustre for Cratloe

Cratloe 0-14 Crusheen 0-6

By Christy O’Connor for the Irish Independent newspaper

At the final whistle there was no mass explosion of joy from Cratloe, just a deep inhalation of the sweetness of their success. It was only their second senior hurling title. They had lost two county finals in the last four seasons. They were entitled to cut loose but yesterday’s success was an endorsement of their wealth of talent, a confirmation of the standards expected of them.

This is a golden time for the south-east Clare club hemmed right up against the Limerick border but another county final defeat here would have been a betrayal of the gifts of the club’s golden generation. Eight of their players have accumulated a total of 16 All-Ireland medals with Clare at senior and U-21.

Three of those eight were All-Stars last season. Reigning senior football champions, next weekend the majority of this squad are seeking to become the first club since Ennis Dalcassians in 1929 to win senior hurling and football county titles in the same year. They only won their first hurling title in 2009, their first football title last year. Cratloe aren’t bothered by continuing to fly in the face of tradition; they’re too busy creating it.


This crew of players have become a machine but they chugged their way to this title, only really hitting their groove when pressing their foot on the accelerator on two occasions at the end of each half. Eight of their 14 scores were bagged in a timeframe of just ten minutes. Cratloe only created one decent goalscoring chance but those two short scoring bursts showed a devastating scoring potential, which they never reached, partly because they never had to.

Crusheen don’t have anything like the same scoring threat but they didn’t perform and their attack effectively malfunctioned. They were chasing the game from the first minute which meant they were never able to set up with the same rigid defensive formation which had restricted another highly vaunted attack – Clonlara – to just 0-8 in the semi-final. They didn’t register their first score from play until the 49th minute. They only had two scorers over the 60 minutes.

Before an attendance of 6,369, this was a poor game, pockmarked with wayward finishing and no real fluent hurling. There were nine wides in the first nine minutes. Crusheen had as many scoring chances as Cratloe in the first half but they shot nine wides, one of which was a glorious goal chance, and dropped five shots short. The third quarter became a complete slugfest, with just one point, a free, recorded in 18 minutes.

That never really bothered Cratloe because the job was effectively done by half-time when they led by 0-9 to 0-2. With Crusheen averaging 0-8 less per game than their opponents coming into the match, they were never going to be able to hunt Cratloe down, especially given the type of game Crusheen needed to make it. Cratloe were just happy to roll up their sleeves again after the break and not be too bothered about the scoreboard.

Crusheen did lift their performance in the second half but Conor Ryan had locked down Cratloe’s central defensive corridor. Although Crusheen won the puckout stat 24-16, Cratloe worked extremely hard in the middle third and never allowed Crusheen time on the ball.

Most of the ball going into the Crusheen attack was coming back out just as quick. Cratloe’s three best attackers, Conor McGrath, Podge Collins and Cathal McInerney, made a combined 41 plays and were effective without ever having to be spectacular, chipping in with five points from play. McInerney had a fine game when making 16 plays. He scored two points and won two converted frees but his five wides also told the story of a game that never caught fire.

“It wasn’t as fluid a game as you would have expected from us but we grafted it out like hell,” said Cratloe manager Joe McGrath afterwards. “Crusheen are renowned for winning matches on graft, but I think we matched them in that department. “Everyone know that Cratloe have a fluid forward line and we play with a bit of panache, but some times we lack in the grafting end of things. We promised ourselves that Crusheen weren’t going to beat us regards grafting and winning that dirty ball. That was the difference in the end.

“We had a six-point lead at half-time and at this time of year, a lead like that was always going to be difficult to claw back. We promised ourselves that we weren’t going to let that gap disappear in the second half. That was the difference in the end as well.”

Crusheen were fighting fires all day. The blaze got out of control in the second quarter and it was only a matter of time before the roof eventually caved in. “In fairness, Cratloe didn’t let it happen for us,” said their manager John Carmody. “They brought huge intensity to the game. We usually match that but we just couldn’t match it today. They were fresher, hungrier and we played second fiddle to be honest. “We were composed all year in front of goals but took some very bad options today at times. It just wasn’t our day. Everything we hit went either wide or short.”

Cratloe will only bask in the warmth and afterglow of this success for a short period because the football decider against Eire Og is already looming into view. That is how it has been for Cratloe all season; next challenge, next game, next target, next goal. Bring it on. And on it goes, the sheen becoming brighter with each game, each challenge. Cratloe’s golden generation is really beginning to glisten.

Scorers – Cratloe: C McGrath 0-6 (4fs), C McInerney, S Collins 0-2 each, L Markham (f), P Collins, G Considine, D Collins 0-1 each.

Crusheen: P Vaughan 0-5 (3fs), C Vaughan 0-1.

CratloE – G Ryan; S O’Leary, M Hawes, D Ryan; S Chaplin, C Ryan, E Boyce; M Ogie Murphy, L Markham; S Gleeson, P Collins, S Collins; C McInerney, G Considine, C McGrath
Subs: D Collins for Gleeson (37), B Duggan for O’Leary (57), D Browne for Considine (61), J O’Gorman for D Ryan (62), P Gleeson for Chaplin (62)

Crusheen – D Tuohy; J Greene, C Dillon, A Brigdale; C O’Doherty, Cathal Dillon, S Dillon; P Vaughan, F Kennedy; G O’Donnell, J Meaney, A Tuohy; C O’Donnell, G O’Grady, C Vaughan
Subs: D O’Doherty for A Tuohy (42min), J Fitzgibbon for Meaney (47), Cronan Dillon for G O’Donnell (55), C O’Loughlin for Brigdale (62).

Referee: S McMahon (Newmarket-on-Fergus)