By Jordan Norris
Ballygunner 1-24 De La Salle 1-15
It's six titles and counting for Ballygunner in Waterford after seeing off the challenge of De La Salle in Walsh Park.
Pauric Mahony and Dessie Hutchinson starred for the Gunners, who needed a strong second half performance to overcome their opponents.
Ballygunner started at electrifying pace, Mahony grabbed the first two scores of the match before Michael Mahony squared to Hutchinson who blasted the ball in the net with ease.
Conor Sheahan, Mahony and the excellent Hutchinson then extended the gap as Ballygunner laid down a real marker with an early 1-7 to 0-01 lead.
Credit to De La Salle, they did not let their heads drop and had real hope when Pauric Nevin raised the green flag from a Jack Fagan sideline.
Scores from Jake Dillon, Thomas Douglas, Adam Farrell and Eddie Meaney gave them a real boost and with the elements in their favour, they were still in with a shout trailing by five at the break.
Things got nervy for the reigning champions at the start of the second half as some great scores from the lively Cormac McCann and Jack Fagan reduced the deficit to a mere two points, but in a three minute spell the Gunners showed exactly why they are 33 games unbeaten at this level, with Peter Hogan, Pauric Mahony, Barry Sullivan and Paddy Leavy reeling off four in a row to leave their challengers in dust.
Late scores from Mahony, Hutchinson and sub Conor Power extended the margin, as they ran out nine-point victors. .
Attention now turns to the Munster Championship, and with a second half performance like that Ballygunner will fancy their chances of retaining their crown.
De La Salle put up a real fight which eventually ran out of steam, but with a solid backline display and Mahony & Hutchinson at their best, Ballygunner will take some stopping going forward this campaign.
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Eddie Hayden, Ian Kenny, Billy O’Keeffe, Conor Sheahan (0-02), Philip Mahony, Barry Coughlan, Michael Mahony, Shane O’Sullivan, Dessie Hutchinson (1-03), Pauric Mahony (0-12, 6f), Barry O’Sullivan (0-01), Peter Hogan (0-03), Tim O’Sullivan, Paddy Leavy (0-01)
Subs: Conor Power (0-1) for Tim O’Sullivan (44), JJ Hutchinson for Paddy Leavy (59), Wayne Hutchinson for Conor Sheahan (59), Barry Power for Billy O’Keeffe (60)
De La Salle: Shaun O’Brien, Ryan Duke, Conor Giles-Doran, Michael Doherty, Shane McNulty (0-01, 65), Kevin Moran, Tom Moran, Eddie Barrett (0-01), Adam Farrell (0-02), Pauric Nevin (1-00), Jake Dillon (0-02), Jack Fagan (0-03), Eddie Meaney (0-01), Thomas Douglas (0-02), Cormac McCann (0-03)
Subs: Shane Ryan for Pauric Nevin (44) Dean Twomey for Adam Farrell (50)
Referee: Michael O’Brien (Portlaw)