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Ballygunner's Patrick Fitzgerald and Clonlara's Dylan McMahon. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
History makers

Ballygunner complete Munster senior hurling three-in-a-row

The Waterford champions reigned in Thurles today.

Ballygunner 2-24

Clonlara 0-17

ON AN AFTERNOON of bitterly cold weather in Thurles, the Ballygunner hurlers were warmed by a Munster championship feat that elevates them above all other challengers in the province.

For the first time a club has won three senior hurling titles on the bounce in Munster, Ballygunner succeeding here in style. Their fourth provincial crown in the last five campaigns arrived after a consummate performance, the sense of command that has become their hallmark was in evidence from the start.

Ballygunner’s dominance propels them towards an All-Ireland semi-final date with St Thomas, a chance to atone for the manner in which they faltered  at that stage twelve months ago at the hands of Ballyhale Shamrocks. 

Was this outcome ever in doubt? Clonlara enjoyed a lightning start knocking over two points in the opening two minutes, John Conlon providing a boost by splitting the posts after just nine seconds. But Ballygunner had wiped out that advantage and gone ahead by the sixth minute. They were never in arrears again.

ballygunner-celebrate-with-the-trophy Ballygunner players celebrate their victory. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Clonlara emerged from Clare this season for the first time in 15 years and discovered just how thin the air is when you reach higher altitude. Ballygunner largely quelled the threats that county men John Conlon and Ian Galvin posed up front. Diarmuid Stritch clipped over a trio of sweetly-struck points and their spirit was illustrated by Páraic O’Loughlin bagging two late points.

But it never looked like they would replicate their stirring success at this venue last time out at the expense of Kiladangan. Ballygunner were too formidable a defensive machine to break down and even when they got sight of goal, Galvin stepping cleverly inside the cover in the 47th minute to shoot off his right, Stephen O’Keeffe darted to his left to produce a terrific save.

Ballygunner’s early dominance was pronounced and they notched two goals in the first half for emphasis. Dessie Hutchinson and Kevin Mahony both on target in a four-minute burst around the first quarter mark.

The second of those arrived after a majestic move that highlighted the intricacy Ballygunner can demonstrate in their play, both Mikey Mahony and Hutchinson passing on the simple option of tapping over a point to engineer the space for Kevin Mahony to blast home. They were 2-12 to 0-9 clear at the break and full value for it.

dessie-hutchinson-celebrates-scoring-the-first-goal Dessie Hutchinson celebrates his goal for Ballygunner.

kevin-mahony-celebrates-scoring-second-the-first-goal Kevin Mahony scored Ballygunner's first goal. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

It took a great intervention from Logan Ryan in clearing off the line to prevent Mahony from raising an earlier green flag. That did not disrupt the Ballygunner dominance, they were loaded with threats everywhere you looked.

Pauric Mahony was top scorer, as is customary, with 0-10, while Peter Hogan was in dazzling form alongside him, firing over four points and departing with the man-of-the-match award as rich proof of his endeavours. 

kevin-mahony-and-aidan-moriarty Kevin Mahony and Aidan Morairty. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The first-half goals removed any uncertainty over the destination of the trophy. Ballygunner’s nine-point interval advantage had swelled to 15 by the 45th minute. Thoughts drifted to a potentially record-breaking Munster final winning  margin but their scoring rate slowed in the final quarter. Clonlara were game and chipped away with some late points but the damage had been done early on.

The red and black machine from Waterford continue to mow down all in front of them in Munster. Next up it’s an All-Ireland assignment against the best that Galway have to offer.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-10 (0-5f, 0-2 ’65), Kevin Mahony 1-4, Dessie Hutchinson 1-1, Peter Hogan 0-4, Patrick Fitzgerald 0-2, Conor Sheahan 0-1, Mikey Mahony 0-1, Harry Ruddle 0-1.

Scorers for Clonlara: Michael O’Loughlin 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), Diarmuid Stritch 0-3, John Conlon  0-2, Páraic O’Loughlin 0-2, Dylan McMahon 0-1, Aidan Moriarty 0-1, Michael Stritch 0-1, Ian Galvin 0-1.


1. Stephen O’Keeffe (joint captain)

2. Ian Kenny, 3. Barry Coughlan, 4. Tadhg Foley

5. Shane O’Sullivan, 6. Philip Mahony (joint captain), 17. Ronan Power

8. Conor Sheahan, 9. Paddy Leavey

12. Peter Hogan, 11. Pauric Mahony, 15. Mikey Mahony

10. Dessie Hutchinson, 14. Kevin Mahony, 13. Patrick Fitzgerald


  • 7. Harry Ruddle for Power (50)
  • 18. Billy O’Keeffe for Sheahan (54)
  • 21. Cormac Power for Kevin Mahony (54)
  • 22. Gavin Corbett for Pauric Mahony (58)
  • 19. Sean Harney for Foley (58)


1. Seimi Gully

4. Logan Ryan, 3. Ger Powell, 2. Michael Clancy

7. Páraic O’Loughlin, 6. Dylan McMahon, 5. David Fitzgerald

8. Aidan Moriarty, 9. Jathan McMahon (captain)

12. Colm Galvin, 11. John Conlon, 10. Colm O’Meara

13. Diarmuid Stritch, 14. Ian Galvin, 15. Michael O’Loughlin


  • 17. Cian Moriarty for Colm Galvin (37)
  • 20. Michael Stritch  for O’Meara (47)
  • 21. Daniel Moloney for Michael O’Loughlin (47)
  • 19. Bryan McLeish for Jathan McMahon (53)
  • 18. James McCormack for Ryan (58)

Referee: Ciarán O’Regan (Cork)

Written by Fintan O’Toole. The Journal publishes the biggest breaking news in Irish and international sport but for all of The 42′s insightful analysis and sharp sportswriting, subscribe here.

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