In a top class Munster hurling club final a powerful finish saw reigning provincial and All Ireland champions Ballygunner prevail by 1-23 to 0-17 after a huge battle with Ballyea.
Outscoring the Clare champions by 0-6 to 0-1 in the last ten minutes put the icing on the cake for Darragh O’Sullivan’s charges.
Tony Kelly was simply majestic for the Banner men scoring 0-11 but it is youngster Patrick Fitzgerald who will take all the plaudits after landing 1-4 from play in a devastating performance.
The first half simply flew by such was the non stop action on display. Starting brightly the Waterford champions led 0-4 to 0-2 and only for a remarkable Peter Casey block on Hutchinson the game’s first green flag would have arrived.
Five Tony Kelly points though followed including a sensational monster point from distance before disaster for Ballyea in the 20th minute.
Pauric Mahony picked up possession just inside the 40 before cutting through and offloading to Patrick Fitzgerald who blasted home low to the right-hand corner.
Wing back James Murphy landed a monster point in immediate response for Robbie Hogan’s men. A late scoring burst of three points from the 27th minute saw the Waterford Champions leading 1-11 to 0-11 at the interval.
On the resumption Ballyea reduced the arrears to the bare minimum when Kelly and Mossy Gavin pointed.
With momentum now firmly on their side Aaron Griffin bore down on goal. Griffin seemed in two minds what to do with Mossy Gavin free at the edge of the square before ultimately firing into the side netting. This was a pivotal almost game defining moment as a green flag would have been a huge psychological score.
Ballygunner responded magnificently outscoring Ballyea 0-5 to 0-3 over the next ten minutes with Fitzgerald and Pauric Mahony to the fore.
The game was still in the melting pot at 1-17 to 0-16 before that final powerful scoring burst ended Ballyea dreams of a second Munster Title.
Ballyea: Barry Coote, Brandon O’Connell, Peter Casey, Paul Flanagan, Gearoid O’Connell, Jack Browne, James Murphy, Tony Kelly, Stan Lineen, Niall Deasy, Pearse Lillis, Cathal O’Connor, Mossy Gavin, Gary Brennan, Aaron Griffin. Subs: Morgan Garry for C O’Connor (38), Martin O’Leary for A Griffin (47), Cillian Brennan for S Lineen (52), Cathal Doohan for M Gavin (55). Scorers: Tony Kelly 0-11 (6f 1 65), Niall Deasy, Pearse Lillis 0-2 each, Mossy Gavin, James Murphy 0-1 each
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Ian Kenny, Barry Coughlan, Tadhg Foley, Shane O’Sullivan, Philip Mahony, Ronan Power, Conor Sheahan, Paddy Leavey, Dessie Hutchinson, Mikey Mahony, Peter Hogan, Patrick Fitzgerald, Kevin Mahony, Pauric Mahony. Subs: Harry Ruddle for K Mahony (55), Billy O’Keefe for P Hogan (56), Tim O’Sullivan for P Fitzgerald (58), Tom Gallagher for R Power (60), Darragh O’Keefe for M Mahony(60). Scorers: Pauric Mahony 0-10 (5f 1 65), Patrick Fitzgerald 1-4, Dessie Hutchinson 0-4, Kevin Mahony, Mikey Mahony 0-2 each, Peter Hogan 0-1