Ballygunner 1-18 Midleton 2-13

Waterford champions Ballygunner survived a stern examination from beaten Cork finalists Midleton to prevail by two points in the quarter final of the Munster club championship.

Ballygunner had to come from behind trailing by four points at the interval to get the better of their spirited opponents. A goal from corner forward Conor Power on 48 minutes helped wrestle the initiative and lead back in favour of the Fergal Harley managed Waterford side.

Ballygunner held that lead to the final whistle with talisman Pauric Mahony once again the scorer in chief with twelve points from placed balls.

The eventual winners began well leading 0-3 to nil after just 4 minutes. Ballygunner continued to make the running and looked comfortable with a 0-6 to 0-2 advantage with 12 minutes elapsed. All of Ballygunner’s opening scores coming from the stick of the Pauric Mahony.

However two first half goals from Conor Lehane and Cormac Beausang left the home side reeling.

After 21 minutes direct from a 20m free Conor Lehane blasted the ball to the net to level matters, 1-5 to 0-8. This boost was followed with points from the excellent Cormac Walsh and Patrick White as the Ballygunner rear-guard was struggling with the pace of the Midleton attack.

The Corkmen had a second major in first half injury time when Tommy O’Connell set up Cormac Beausang for a goal. The Magpies were good value for their 2-8 to 0-10 point interval lead.

Ballygunner's JJ Hutchinson celebrates at the final whistle

Two early second half points from Tim O’Sullivan and substitute Peter Hogan narrowed the margin to a single point after just 33 minutes. The games turning point however arrived in the 49th minute when Conor Power won possession along the end-line, turning his marker inside out before shooting low to the net from a difficult angle, putting the five in a row Waterford champions a point ahead, 1-14 to 2-10.

Midleton had late points from James Nagle and Cormac Beausang but the metronomic free taking of Pauric Mahon; who hit twelve points in all (five in the second half) was just enough to keep the home side ahead to the final whistle.

Midleton did go searching for a late match winning goal but the impressive Philip Mahony showed all his experience in defending Midleton’s last ditch efforts.

Ballygunner will now meet Clare champions, Ballyhea next Sunday November 4th also at Walsh Park in the semi-final.

Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Eddie Hayden, Barry Coughlan, Ian Kenny, Wayne Hutchinson, Philip Mahony, Harley Barnes, Shane O’Sullivan, Mikey Mahony, Billy O’Keeffe (0-01), Pauric Mahony (0-12, 0-11f, 0-1’65), Barry O’Sullivan, Tim O’Sullivan (0-02), Brian O’Sullivan, Conor Power (1-01).

Subs: Peter Hogan (0-01) for Wayne Hutchinson (ht), J.J. Hutchinson (0-01) for Barry O’Sullivan (44m).

Midleton: Tommy Wallace, Eoghan Moloney, Seádnaidh Smyth, Finbar O’Mahoney, James Nagle (0-01), Luke Dineen (0-01), Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Paul Haughney, Seamus O’Farrell, Cormac Walsh (0-03), Luke O’Farrell (0-01), Cormac Beausang (1-02, 0-01 side-line, Tommy O’Connell, Conor Lehane (1-04, 1-03f), Patrick White (0-1).

Subs: Ross O’Regan for Luke Dineen (55m), Garvan Manley for Patrick White (58m), Aidan Ryan for Paul Haughey (61m).

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)