County Senior Hurling Championship
Ballygunner 2-19 Tallow 1-17
Tony Ryan Reports
This wasn’t an unsporting game by any means at Fraher Field last Sunday evening but county champions Ballygunner finished up with 13 players and Tallow with 14. More interesting than this was the performance Tallow put up against the champions, their best against the Gunners in recent years surely. Ballygunner never looked in doubt of losing their 29 championship game winning sequence, they led throughout but this particular line out were depending greatly on Pauric Mahony to keep their noses in front. Mahony opened the scoring after just 11 seconds and then still inside the first minute, Dessie Hutchinson showed a clean pair of heels to his marker with a devastating burst of speed to plant the sliotar in the country end goal.
Three minutes in, Pauric Mahony pointed a free and ahead by 1-2 to 0-0, this was, in essence, what separated the sides at the final whistle.
The returned Ryan Grey opened Tallow’s account from play in the third minute but Mahony and Hutchinson stretched the Gunners’ advantage to 1-4 to 0-1 with just six minutes played.Barry Coughlan picked up a seventh minute yellow card which would have more serious implications towards the end of the game after which Tommy Ryan scored a trade mark point and Bob McCarthy added another score to give the Bridesiders some confidence after ten minutes, on a scoreboard reading 1-4 to 0-3.Normally a Ballygunner side would put teams to the sword from the off but they are not showing this flare at this stage of year, a feature either temporary or permanent we will find out in time.
By the 14th minute, Pauric Mahony had traded a brace of points with Tommy Ryan and Darrah Buckley respectively and Tallow were further boosted when Tommy Ryan sped in for a goal in the town end in the 16th minute, 1-6 to 1-5. Three minutes later, this score was negated when a very hurling sharp Dessie Huchinson struck for his second green flag and when Pauric Mahony pointed two frees by the 23rd minute, Ballygunner’s dominance was again secured.However, Tallow were settling into this free flowing contest very well and they confined the winners to a Conor Power point for the rest of the half.
Themselves, they finished it positively with a third Tommy Ryan point and a brace of converted frees by the very accurate Darah Buckley. Tallow shot seven first half wides and Ballygunner five, Ballygunner 2-9 Tallow 1-8.Ballygunner won the second half by 0-1 as Tallow maintained their fine performance. Ten minutes into the new half, the Gunners had extended their lead to 2-13 to 1-10 through scores by Pauric Mahony(2), sub Conor Sheahan and Peter Hogan with a reply of two pointed frees by Darah Buckley.
For the remaining twenty minutes, Tallow competed well without ever threatening Ballygunner’s lead. In an evenly contested last quarter, the Bridesiders worked fine scores by Ian Beecher (2), sub Tommy Daly and Paul O Brien with Darrah Buckley and Tommy Ryan on targ3t from placed balls.Ballygunner kept their distance with scores from play by Mahony, Shane O Sullivan, Conor Sheahan and JJ Hutchinson and there was 0-6 the difference in the 58th minute when Barry Coughlan hauled down Tommy Ryan on route to goal, hence his dismissal on a second yellow card. Ryan pointed the resultant free to leave the final score 2-19 to 1-17 in the Gunners’ favour. In injury time, both Shane O Sullivan, and Rob Geary were red carded with both influential players for their respective teams due to miss out on their next championship game.
Tallow will play Passage in the play-offs and Ballygunner await the quarter finals on route to their quest for six in a row titles.