Ballygunner 0-17 Patrickswell 0-09
Reigning champions Ballygunner have qualified for third successive Munster club hurling final after a comprehensive eight-point victory over Patrickswell at Walsh Park.
The home side dominated all bar a ten minute period before to the break to keep their two in a row hopes firmly on track.
Despite the benign conditions and in front of an official attendance of 1,957 scores were difficult to come by in the opening half.
Former Brighton and Hove Albion player Dessie Hutchinson was once again scorer in chief for the Waterford champions.
Hutchinson notched four early points from play with a double from Pauric Mahony as the Darragh O'Sullivan managed side led 0-06 to 0-01 after 22 minutes.
Ciaran Carey’s charges had suffered a pre-game blow when regular goalkeeper Brian Murray was injured in the warm-up with Jason Gillane donning the number one jersey and Andrew Carroll coming in at full-forward.
Remarkably Patrickswell hadn’t opened their account until the 20th minute when talisman Aaron Gillane pointed a free.
The Limerick champions had been off target with five earlier attempts. A mini-revival before the break was led by centre-back Diarmuid Byrnes who pointed a free from just outside his own 45m line.
From the puck-out Byrnes gathered the long delivery before placing Gillane for a point to narrow the margin to just three points.
Pauric Mahony responded for the Waterford men with a point however three on the bounce from All-Star Aaron Gillane (2) and John Flynn meant there was just a single point, 0-07 to 0-06, between the sides at the break.
On resumption Ballygunner was quick to reassert control. The wonderful Michael Mahony had four points on the spin and with his brother Philip Mahony minding the house as an extra defender it looked curtains for the blue and gold visitors from Limerick. And so it was.
Aaron Gillane converted a free on 43 minutes however points from Peter Hogan, Barry O’Sullivan, Pauric Mahony and Shane O’Sullivan left the champions in an unassailable lead 0-15 to 0-07 with 52 minutes on the clock.
Jack Kelleher snatched two late points for the 'Well but fittingly it was the impressive Hutchinson and official AIB man of the match Pauric Mahony who closed out the scoring for the winners.
Michael Mahony, Dessie Hutchinson and Barry O’Sullivan were the leading lights alongside talisman Pauric Mahony for the current Waterford and Munster champions.
Patrickswell’s inter-county trio of Diarmuid Byrnes, Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane all had their moments but their supporting cast on this occasion failed to fire.
Ballygunner will now meet Tipperary champions Borrisoleigh in the Munster final in two weeks’ time.
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Billy O’Keeffe ,Eddie Hayden, Ian Kenny, Barry Coughlan, Philip Mahony, Shane O’Sullivan (0-01), Conor Sheehan, Paddy Leavy, Michael Mahony (0-04), Pauric Mahony (0-05, 0-4f), Barry O’Sullivan (0-01), Peter Hogan (0-01), Tim O’Sullivan, Dessie Hutchinson (0-05).
Subs: Kevin Mahony for Peter Hogan (58m), J.J. Hutchinson for Tim O’Sullivan (62m).
Patrickswell: Jason Gillane, Seanie O’Brien, Nigel Foley, Thomas Nolan, Mark Carmody, Diarmuid Byrnes (0-01f), Paudie Maher, Josh Considine, Cian Lynch, Aaron GIllane (0-05, 0-3f), Kevin O’Brien, Jack Kelleher (0-02), Thomas O’Brien, Andrew Carroll, John Flynn (0-01).
Subs: Paul O’Brien for Andrew Carroll (41m), Lar Considine for Thomas O’Brien (46m),
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork).