Ballygunner 2-23; Tallow 2-12
When these two sides met at the quarter-finals stage last year a very close game ensued and this time more of the same was expected. But those thinking along those lines were disappointed as the Gunners, despite a poor first half, ran out comfortable winners.
Ballygunner’s Shane Walsh and Thomas Ryan, who impressed for Tallow, exchanged early points. Veteran Paul Flynn got in on the act on four minutes to put his side in front. Paul O’Brien added a brace from Tallow in the eighth and ninth minutes before Flynn notched his second.
O’Brien and Ryan added points for Tallow on 12 and 13 minutes, before Paul Flynn, Kieran Geary, Shane O’Sullivan and Flynn swapped scores.
With 20 minutes gone, the first goal came and what a strike it was. Thomas Ryan and Paul Kearney combined before Kearney lashed the sliotar past Stephen O’Keeffe in the Ballygunner goal.
Thomas Ryan and Gearoid O’Connor exchanged points before Ryan had a great chance for a second Tallow goal but his shot was saved and put out for a 65 which was converted by Paul O’Brien.
Shane F. McCarthy added a great point for Tallow with three minutes of the half remaining and on the stroke of half-time a high dropping ball fell in the direction of Aidan Kearney who was surprisingly selected at full-forward.
Kearney appeared to be fouled and was unable to catch the ball which fell to Thomas Ryan who pulled on it along the ground to give the westerners a 2-9 to 0-7 lead.
Whatever was said by Ger Cunningham in the Ballygunner dressing-room at the break worked, as they came out and scored three points in three minutes, all from Tommy Power, Paul Flynn converted another free before Brian O’Sullivan sent a low shot past Barry Power in the Tallow goal.
Paul Flynn added a further three points, the third from inside his own 65, and Thomas Ryan scored a free for Tallow on 44 minutes. On the 45-minute mark Brian Sullivan scored his second goal of the game and the city side were now in cruise control.
Tallow were awarded a free which was brought forward when the Ballygunner defenders protested and Thomas Ryan was left with no option but to go for a goal. His shot from the 21 was driven towards a crowded Ballygunner goal, whose defenders had no problem in stopping it and clearing upfield.
Shane O’Sullivan and Tommy Power added points for Ballygunner to which Kieran Geary responded with a single white flag. Shane Walsh and Alan Kirwan also registered points for the victors, with Paul O’Brien replying in kind on 54.
Wayne Hutchinson, Tommy Power, JJ Hutchinson and Gearoid O’Connor all landed late points for Ballygunner. It could have been worse for Tallow as late on Brian O’Sullivan had a golden opportunity to complete his hat-trick, but his weakly struck shot towards an empty net went narrowly wide.
Tallow: B Power; Shane G McCarthy, D O’Brien, K Kearney; M O’Brien, J Murray, W Henley; K Geary, P O’Brien; B Sheehan, Shane F McCarthy, P Kearney; T Ryan, A Kearney, L McCarthy. Subs J P Grey for L McCarthy, S Barry for T Ryan.
Scorers: T Ryan 1-4, P O’Brien 0-4, P Kearney 1-0, K Geary 0-2, Shane F McCarthy 0-1.
Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; C Kehoe, W Kiely, R Cunningham; W Hutchinson, P Mahony, T Power; S O’Sullivan, A Kirwan; S Walsh, JJ Hutchinson, A Moloney; B O’Sullivan, P Flynn G O’Connor. Sub. D O’Sullivan for S O’Sullivan.
Scorers: P Flynn 0-8, B O Sullivan 2-1, T Power 0-5, S Walsh, S O’Sullivan, G O’Connor 0-2 each, W Hutchinson, A Kirwan, JJ Hutchinson 0-1 each.
Referee: M Wadding (Roanmore).