County Minor Hurling Division 1 Final
St. Carthages 1-13
Brian Flannery Reports
Ballygunner won a third Division 1 Minor hurling title in a row with a dominant display and twenty-three-point advantage by games end over a disappointing St. Carthages At Walsh Park on Saturday. Having inflected a twenty-seven-point hammering on the Lismore/Ballysaggart combination side in the group stages, Ballygunner were firm favourites from the outset here. St. Carthages had somewhat surprisingly squeaked past Roanmore in their semi-final to earn another tilt against the reigning champions.St. Carthages competed strongly in the opening quarter with Carthach Daly and Conor Howard providing the defensive cover while Ben Shanahan-Quinn and Eddie Walsh carried the scoring threat. County minors in Black and Red Jake Foley and Conor Berry too showed up well in the early exchanges.
The champions held a narrow one-point advantage 0-7 to 0-6 when they surprisingly fell behind to a Ryan Bennett goal after 18 minutes. County minor goalie Mark Kilgannon fumbled possession which allowed Bennett force the ball over the goal-line, 1-6 to 0-7.This goal awoke the champions from their slumber and their response was immediate. Five points in a row from Jake Foley, Ronan Power, Conor Berry (2f) and Patrick Fitzgerald put Ballygunner back in the ascendancy. When Patrick Fitzgerald goaled after 29 minutes the favourites now led 1-13 to 1-7. A late exchange of points from Ronan Power and Ben Shanahan-Quinn kept the margin to six points 1-14 to 1-8 at the break.
On the resumption another point from Shanahan-Quinn gave Lismore a glimmer of hope but they wouldn’t score again for a further twenty minutes as Ballygunner took complete control. Jake Foley and Ely Cullen had goals after 33 and 38 minutes and a plethora of white flaggers had the champions cruising 3-19 to 1-9 with just 10 minutes to play. Being reduced to fourteen players didn’t help St. Carthages cause with Conor Berry finding the net in the 53rd and 55th minutes to complete the rout.Jake Foley was awarded the official man of the match award with Conor Berry and Pat Fitzgerald both also in strong contention.