Reigning champions Ballygunner are through to another Eastern Final after eventually seeing off De La Salle at Walsh Park last Wednesday. Except for a few minutes after Alan O’Neill’s first-half goal, the Gunners looked comfortable throughout were full justice for their four point winning margin.
With county senior panellist, Brian O’Sullivan injured an unavailable for the holders, the onus fell on Stephen Power to provide the firepower. And provide he did in some style! Power finished the game with a total of eleven points, seven of which came from play and showed the type of form that first brought him to the public’s attention when De La Salle Colleges first won the Harty Cup in 2007.
Scores were few and far between in the first ten minutes after which Ballygunner led by 0-2 to 0-1 with Stephen Power and Gary Bambrick on target for the Gunners and Jake Dillon replying with a free for De La Salle.
In the 13th minute, a long delivery by Eddie Barrett into the Ballygunner goalmouth caused some consternation in the full-back line. John Kinsella got his hurley to the ball and diverted it towards the goal but Stephen O’Keeffe made a fine save. However, the rebound fell to Alan O’Neill who first time effort gave O’Keeffe no chance and put De La Salle in front.
This goal prompted a purple patch for Ballygunner in which they regained the lead. First of all Naoise Waldron picked out Power who dissected the De La Salle posts with ease. Six minutes later, Power repeated the trick after a great catch from an excellent Gary Bambrick sideline cut.
One of the features of this game was the amount of times Ballygunner goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe made himself available to his full-back line in times of trouble. Such is the distance O’Keeffe gets into his clearances that this was a useful attacking option for the Gunners. From one such clearance, Pauric Mahony gained possession and fired over to put Ballygunner back in front. From their very next attack, Power converted another free to extend the lead as the half neared a conclusion.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.