JJ KAVANAGH AND SONS COUNTY SENIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP Ballygunner Finish Strongly and Win Again. Ballygunner 1-18 Dungarvan 0-14 Waterford and Munster senior hurling champions Ballygunner continued on their winning ways last Sunday when they survived a strong challenge from Dungarvan for three quarters of this second round County championship match in Walsh Park before easing to victory in the final ten minutes. Dungarvan were well in the hunt up to the 50th minute mark when the score read Ballygunner 1-12 Dungarvan 0-14 but a number of factors dramatically changed the trend of the play. The Gunners introduced JJ Hutchinson and he scored three points from play. Dungarvan, themselves, shot four crucial wides, which, at the end of the day, meant that their final score in this hard fought encounter came as early as the 43rd minute. Ballygunner won the toss and elected to play into the wind. It took the Blues some time to adjust to the pace of the Ballygunner play and inside ten minutes they had picked up three yellow cards. This, of course, was fodder for Pauric Mahony’s excellent freetaking skills and by half time he had secured five pointed frees for the champions. The first one came as early as the 1st minute but Ryan Donnolly settled Dungarvan with a similar score one minute later. Mahony was on target again in the 5th minute but parity was again restored when Michael Kiely, who had a great game here for the Blues, placed Sean Ryan for the first point of the hour from play. The key score in this game came as early as the 6th minute when Tim O Sullivan finished a Conor Power cross to the net and it seemed then that the Gunners would build on this major score. Credit Dungarvan, though, they played their best hurling for the remainder of a half that they won by 0-7 to 0-4. Tigris in the tackle, Dungarvan ate into Ballygunner’s lead starting with a Kieran Power point from a distance in the 7th minute. By the end of the first quarter, there was just 0-1 the difference at 1-4 to 0-6 after Ballygunner scores by Mahony(f) and Peter Hogan, the latter’s 12th minute score being the winners last minor from play in the first half and Dungarvan replies by Donnolly 0-2(1f) and Cathal Curran. An under pressure Ballygunner coughed up two pointed frees to an inform striking Ryan Donnolly and it took another Pauric Mahony point to keep Ballygunner’s nose in front by 1-5 to 0-7 come the 20th minute. A major point in the game was played out in the 24th minute when Gavin Crotty, in possession from a Michael Kiely delivery and heading for goal, was stopped in his tracks by Barry Coughlan with a penalty resulting. Patrick Curran struck the ball very well towards the corner but Stephen O Keeffe got down brilliantly to save excellently with a ‘65’ resulting. This was a major happening in the match as the Blues required one goal at least to threaten Ballygunner to the very end of the game. Ryan Donnolly pointed the resultant ‘65’ to level proceedings at 1-5 o 0-8 and two minutes later, Dungarvan had another opportunity to goal but Joe Allen’s attempt went across the face of the goal. The Blues’achilles heel of not scoring a goal since the championship began continued but they shot into the lead for the first time in the 28th minute when a Ryan Donnolly pointed free edged them ahead. The teams looked as if they would go in as they had come out 30 minutes earlier when Pauric Mahony pointed a 29th minute free but Donnolly had the final say in the third and final minute of added time when he popped over his seventh score of the half to leave the Blues ahead by 0-10 to 1-6. Dungarvan maintained their challenge for the third quarter and having been brought level by the 37th minute, they took the lead on two more occasions which lasted until the 47th minute. The half started with Pauric Mahony off target from a 33rd minute ‘65’ before Patrick Curran placed Michael Kiely for a neat score from play. Mahony and Peter Hogan brought the match back level for the 5th time at 1-8 to 0-11 before Ryan Donnolly struck over another free. The Gunners key player, as always, Pauric Mahony, levelled again at 1-9 to 0-12 before Donnolly placed Patrick Curran for a super score and then pointed yet another free himself. Ahead by 0-2 and 43 minutes played, little did the attendance know that this was to be Dungarvan’s final score for all of twenty minutes. They led by 0-14 to 1-9 just as JJ Hutchinson was being introduced. Hutchinson pointed on his arrival and Pauric Mahony(f) had the sides level for the 7th and final time in the 47th minute at 0-14 to 1-11. The Blues sought to take the lead again but two crucial wides by Gavin Crotty and Ryan Donnolly by the 52nd minute prevented this. Pauric Mahony(f) gave Ballygunner a permanent lead after which they completely took over proceedings. Whether the result of this was Dungarvan tiring against the wind or Ballygunner using their greater experience and upping their pace is a matter for one’s opinion, 1-12 to 0-14. As it was a fresh JJ Hutchinson scored twice either side of a Pauric Mahony pointed free and the champions were in full flight. Peter Hogan made the scoreline 1-16 to 0-14 in the 55th minute followed by two further Dungarvan wides. The contest was decided at this stage but the Gunners weren’t finished yet and further scores by Barry O Sullivan and Mahony(f) finished off a second half win for the Champions by 0-12 to 0-4. The champions prevailed without the services of a number of key players and it shows the depth in strength of their squad. They have Tallow to play in their final Group game and are likely to win this game as well. Dungarvan will be happy with their performance for over 50 minutes here and this game, despite the defeat, will have brought them on. They have put the dismal defeat to Passage last year behind them and the aim must now be to keep their name in the pot and defeat a capable Clonea side in the next round. Ballygunner’s Top Three : Pauric Mahony, Dessie Hutchinson, Peter Hogan. Dungarvan’s Top Three : Ryan Donnolly, Michael Kiely, Conor Sheridan. Observer’s Man of the Match : Pauric Mahony. Number of Scorers : Ballygunner : 5. Dungarvan : 6. Scores From Play : Ballygunner : 1-8. Dungarvan : 0-6. Frees For : Ballygunner : 13. Dungarvan : 11. Wides : Ballygunner : 4. Dungarvan : 10. Score of the Match : Dungarvan’s 33rd minute point engineered by Patrick Curran and scored by Michael Kiely. Scorers : Ballygunner : Pauric Mahony 0-11(9f), Tim O Sullivan 1-0, Peter Hogan and JJ Hutchnson 0-3 each, Barry O Sullivan 0-1. Dungarvan : Ryan Donnolly 0-8(6f, 1’65’), Sean Ryan, Kieran Power, Cathal Curran, Michael Kiely and Patrick Curran 0-1 each. Teams : Ballygunner : Stephen O Keeffe; Tadhg Foley, Barry Coughlan, Barry Power; Conor Sheahan, Shane O Sullivan, Tom Gallagher; Paddy Leavey, Harley Barnes;Peter Hogan, Pauric Mahony, Barry O Sullivan; Tim O Sullivan, Conor Power, Dessie Hutchinson. Subs : Eddie Hayden for Conor Sheehan (43), JJ Hutchinson for Conor Power (45), Conor Sheehan for Tom Gallagher (63, inj.). Dungarvan : Gavin Power; Aaron Donnolly, John Curran, Sean Ryan; Jamie Nagle, Kieran Power, Darragh Lyons; Joe Duggan, Michael Kiely; Patrick Curran, Kevin Daly, Conor Sheridan; Cathal Curran, Gavin Crotty, Ryan Donnolly. Subs : Joe Allen for Kevin Daly (25), Luke O Callaghan for Darragh Lyons (46), Kealan Daly for Joe Duggan (55). Referee : Nicky O Toole (St. Pauls).