Mullane the star as DLS earn quarter-final seeding
De La Salle 2-18 Ballygunner 2-12
De La Salle, a goal down at half-time, finished marvellously at Walsh Park to claim both a six-point win over Ballygunner and a seeded berth for the quarter-final draw
The game started badly for the Gunners who lost the services of veteran full-back Fergal Hartley with a leg injury in the third minute – and that loss was grievously felt the longer the game progressed.
Both teams wasted early chances, and each recorded appalling wides, before the Gunners struck for their first goal on 15 minutes, when Paul Flynn rounded his marker in typical fashion to give Stevie Brenner no chance in the De La Salle goal.
Matters slightly improved as the initial half wore on-and De La Salle got a terrific boost in the 25th minute, when county players Brian Phelan and John Mullane conjured up a badly needed goal.
It was a marvellous strike from the skipper, who has maintained his marvellous inter-county form into club colours.
While a Paul Flynn 20-metre special four minutes later cancelled this out, reminding all present of his mercurial talent, Ballygunner kept their lead intact at the halfway stage, when they led by 2-5 to 1-5.
The second period was far more entertaining than what had gone before. Even though the firmer champions stubbornly held on to their by now precarious lead right up to the start of the last quarter, De La Salle showed a greater appetite for the task in hand.
However, from that moment John Mullane returned to the fray De La Salle really took this game by the scruff of the neck and continued to outplay their opponents in most sectors of the field.
Lee Hayes placed Padraig Neville in for an invaluable point in the 40th minute while James Quirke added another from a free four minutes later.
And when a John Mullane cross after 45 minutes was finished home by Dean Twomey for a point the deficit was down to the minimum.
Still some semblance of Ballygunner confidence was restored when between the 46th and 49th minutes Paul Flynn, Johnny Kearney, and Michael Kearney rifled over points to again give their side a three point advantage.
Alas, the concluding minutes belonged almost exclusively to De La Salle as they pressed forward in waves and some six minutes from the end of normal time the game dramatically turned in their favour.
Padraic Nevin created the opening; John Mullane carried on the attack, and set up Dean Twomey for a brilliant goal.
James Quirke and Johnny Kearney swiftly traded points but the concluding six minutes which embraced two additional minutes of extra time proved to be all one way traffic.
The inspired John Mullane rifled over four superb points without reply and James Quirke added another white flag on the call of time.
The Gunners failed to raise a single flag in the concluding 10 minutes of what proved to be a most disappointing local derby affair – but they will hope for better in the quarter-finals.
But John Mullane, yet again this hurling year, was magnificent. De La Salle march on.
De La Salle: Stevie Brenner, Darren Russell, Ian Flynn, Michael Doherty, Alan O’Neill, Kevin Moran, Stephen Daniels, Alan Kelly, Bryan Phelan, Padraic Nevin, James Quirke, Conan Watt, Dean Twomey, John Mullane, Dermot Dooley.
Subs: Lee Hayes for J. Mullane, John Mullane for D. Dooley, Brian O’Farrell for A. Kelly, Paddy Kennedy for S Daniels and David Greene for C Watt.
Scorers: John Mullane (1-6), James Quirke (0-7), Dean Twomey (1-1), Brian Phelan (0-2), Alan Kelly and Padraic Nevin (0-1 each).
Ballygunner: Pat Haran, Alan Kirwan, Fergal Hartley, Colin Kehoe, Vinny Molloy, Wayne Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, David O’Sullivan, Johnny Kearney, Shane Walsh, Shane O’Sullivan, Andy Moloney, JJ Hutchinson, Paul Flynn, Stephen Power.
Subs: Michael Kearney for S Power.
Scorers: Paul Flynn (2-4), Barry Mullane, JJ Hutchinson, Johnny Kearney (0-2 each), Stephen Power and Michael Kearney (0-1 each).
Referee: Pat Casey (Cappoquin).
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