Flare thrown on to the pitch as Ballygunner outclass Ballyea 5 months ago

Flare thrown on to the pitch as Ballygunner outclass Ballyea

Ballygunner 3-20 Ballyea 2-6

The Ballyea fans threw a flare onto the pitch for a finish but, in the absence of Tony Kelly, that was the only spark they managed during this one-sided Munster club hurling quarter final.


These teams played out a thriller in this competition three years ago but with Kelly on the line, out with a long-term ankle injury, Ballygunner made light work here of their depleted opponents. In fairness, minus their talisman, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Clare champions but none-the-less, they'll still be disappointed by a flat and disjointed display.

On the other hand, Ballygunner were on song from the word go. Inside, with his constant movement and sharp touches, Dessie Hutchinson was a focal point for the Waterford champions but they were on top in every corner. The Mahony brothers Pauric, Mikey and Kevin were all lively up front while, around the middle of the field, Paddy Leavey and Peter Hogan ran the show for Darragh O'Sullivan's team.

It meant that, behind them, it was a very quiet day for the likes of Barry Coughlan, Stephen O'Keeffe and Ian Kenny who, when called into action, looked as sharp and tigerish as you'd want your corner back to be.


They'll have tougher challenges ahead but, in pursuit of that elusive All-Ireland club title, a display like this one bodes well for the Déise men. With seasoned campaigners like Conor Power and Barry O'Sullivan only coming on as subs, they have serious strength in depth and in their tackling and intensity, the play with the edge of an inter-county team. An edge that every club team in the country will find it hard against.

This was best summed up by man-of-the-match and centre forward Mikey Mahony who, having been presented with his award by TG4, immediately referenced the focus the team place on tackles and turn-overs, especially among their forwards. Not just skilful hurlers, the likes of the Mahonys and Hutchinson hunt in packs which forced Ballyea into a number of turnovers that they wouldn't have been happy with.

Having failed to score from play for the guts of fifty minutes, they won't be happy with the day in general but at least they've a Clare title to fall back on, which, won without one of the best hurlers in the country, is a fair achievement in itself. To their credit too, they never gave up with Deasy and sub Martin O'Leary scoring goals late on.


This gave their loyal supporters something to get excited about, some of them a little too much as a flare ended up on the field for a finish. Billy O'Keeffe had the last laugh though, scoring two fine goals to round off a brilliant Ballygunner display.