Ballygunner 1-23 Passage 0-09
Ballygunner claimed a seventh successive Waterford Senior Hurling title – their 19th in total - in facile circumstances at Walsh Park, comfortably seeing off neighbours Passage, the last team to defeat them in this championship back in 2013.
Come the interval, the Gunners led by 1-12 to 0-5, limiting Passage to just a single point from play.
Pauric Mahony opened the scoring after 62 seconds following a fine Dessie Hutchinson pass. Hutchinson was next to score three minutes later before dominant midfielder Conor Sheahan opened his account in the sixth minute.
Peter Hogan, scintillating during the opening half, repeated that feat less than a minute later before Mahony's first free of the afternoon sent Ballygunner five points clear after nine minutes.
Passage opened their account through a Mikey Cummins free in the 11th minute and for an all-too brief window, the challengers rallied with points from Gary Cullinane and another Cummins free to trail by two after 14 minutes. But Kevin Mahony pointed from the Gunners’ next attack, followed by further points from Pauric Mahony, Peter Hogan and Mahony again to leave the holders six clear after 22.
Whatever hopes of a meaningful contest developing were put to pasture in the 23rd minute after Kevin Mahony, played through by brother Mikey, fired the ball low to Eddy Lynch’s left to leave Ballygunner 12 points to the good. Pauric Mahony tagged on a further brace in the 26th and 27th minutes before Mikey Cummins converted his third free a minute later (0-4 to 1-11).
Peter Hogan and Pauric Mahony (a free) completed Ballygunner’s first half scoring either side of a fourth Cummins free but by the break it was a case of how much Darragh O’Sullivan’s side would win by.
While Passage never threw in the towel, the gulf between the sides was undeniable. During the second half, Ballygunner kept the scoreboard ticking over, adding 11 points to their tally while the challengers would end the afternoon with just two points from play.
Substitutes Barry O’Sullivan and Conor Power also got their names on the scoresheet while Kevin Mahony, Peter Hogan and Dessie Hutchinson all ended the hour with four scores from play each.
"I think we're raising the bar every single year we go out to other teams to get to that level," said Ballygunner manager Darragh O’Sullivan as his players celebrated another title.
The Gunners are now 38 matches without defeat in the Waterford roll of honour. It’d be a brave soul to suggest that anyone will deny them an eighth successive title come 2021.
Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; I Kenny, B Coughlin, T Foley; B O’Keeffe, Philip Mahony, S O’Sullivan; C Sheahan (0-02), P Leavey; D Hutchinson (0-04), Pauric Mahony (0-08; 0-05f), M Mahony; Tim O’Sullivan, K Mahony (1-03), P Hogan (0-04).
Subs used: Barry O’Sullivan (0-01) for Mikey Mahony (49), Conor Power (0-01) for Tim O’Sullivan (50), Eddie Hayden for Billy O’Keeffe (55), JJ Hutchinson for Peter Hogan (57) and Darragh O’Keeffe for Conor Sheahan (60).
Passage: Eddy Lynch; Callum O’Neill, Darragh Lynch, David Jones; Adam Roche, Noel Connors, Ciaran O’Neill; Gary Cullinane (0-01), Killian Fitzgerald; Stephen Lynch, Owen Connors (0-02f), Paddy Flynn; Jason Roche, Liam Flynn (0-01), Mikey Cummins (0-05f).
Subs used: J Whitty for A Roche and T Connors for S Lynch (both HT); E Reilly for P Flynn and J Burke for G Cullinane (both 50) and Mike Hutchinson for Ciaran O’Neill (59)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Modeligo)