Stunning late goal hands All-Ireland senior title win to Waterford’s Ballygunner

Ballygunner (Waterford) 2-17
Ballyhale Shamrocks (Kilkenny) 1-19

BALLYGUNNER HAVE LONG dreamed of being crowned All-Ireland champions but perhaps they could never have imagined as sensational a way to realise that ambition.

Shane O’Sullivan celebrates Ballygunner’s win.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Two points down, deep in injury-time against the Kilkenny aristocrats of this competition, it appeared as if Ballyhale were set to reign again.

But then Ballygunner fashioned a passing move involving Ian Kenny, Paddy Leavey and Peter Hogan to send Harry Ruddle clear from midfield. He approached a crowd of players, let fly from inside the D and the ball nestled in bottom corner of the net.

The final whistle sounded moments later and Ballygunner had become the first Waterford team to lift the Tommy Moore Cup. Their wild joy was easy to understand.

Philip Mahony and Barry Coughlan lift the Tommy Moore Cup.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ballygunner’s sheer refusal to quit served them well during a gripping second-half. They trailed by three points, 0-10 to 0-7, at the interval, were five down midway through the second half, four in arrears by the 56th minute and trailed by two after Evan Shefflin clipped over what looked the insurance point in the 61st minute. Ruddle’s dramatic intervention won the day and was a reward for their capacity to stay in touch.

Ballyhale were left heartbroken, this was the flipside of what they had experience when snatching the semi-final away from the grasp of St Thomas. They did plenty right with their big-game experience surfacing. TJ Reid pointed the way as usual with 0-8, his brother Richie was magnificent in defence and they had 11 different scorers. But they could not quite put the game out of Ballygunner’s reach.

The Waterford side had their own heroes. Dessie Hutchinson was electric throughout as he bagged 1-3. Pauric Mahony’s leadership surfaced with vital points from frees throughout the second half. His younger brothers Mikey and Kevin weighed in with 0-5 from play between them.

Ballyhale’s Eoin Cody and Ballygunner’s Peter Hogan.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A tight and tense first half saw Ballygunner open brightly to go ahead 0-5 to 0-3 by the 16 minute but wayward shooting cost them as Ballyhale went in front 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time. Ballygunner had drawn level at 0-12 apiece by the 39th minute, but then Ballyhale made a decisive burst with a brace of points and crucially Eoin Reid whipped home a 43rd minute goal after Colin Fennelly was initially denied by a superb save from Stephen O’Keeffe.

Ballygunner hopes were ignited once more with a spree of points and Hutchinson cracked home a 48th minute goal to leave them 1-15 to 1-14 adrift. The finale was a stirring sequence of scores.

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Adrian Mullen and the Reid brothers pushed Ballyhale four clear, Ballygunner fought back with three points courtesy of Hutchinson, Kevin Mahony and Pauric Mahony.

Shefflin edged Ballyhale ahead by two but Ruddle would have the decisive, final say.

Scorers for Ballygunner: Pauric Mahony 0-7 (0-7f), Dessie Hutchinson 1-3, Harry Ruddle 1-0, Mikey Mahony 0-3, Billy O’Keeffe, Kevin Mahony 0-2 each.

Scorers for Ballyhale Shamrocks: TJ Reid 0-8 (0-4f, 0-2 ’65), Eoin Reid 1-0, Adrian Mullen, Evan Shefflin 0-2 each, Richie Reid, Darragh Corcoran, Patrick Mullen, Brian Cody, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Cody, Joseph Cuddihy 0-1 each.

Ballygunner

1. Stephen O’Keeffe

2. Ian Kenny, 3. Barry Coughlan (joint captain), 4. Tadhg Foley

5. Shane O’Sullivan, 6. Philip Mahony (joint captain), 7. Ronan Power

8. Conor Sheahan, 9. Paddy Leavey

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

13. Billy O’Keeffe, 14. Kevin Mahony, 10. Dessie Hutchinson

Subs

23. Cormac Power for Billy O’Keeffe (46)

17. Harry Ruddle for Sheahan (53)

Ballyhale Shamrocks

1. Dean Mason

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2. Darren Mullen, 3. Joey Holden, 17. Brian Butler

5. Evan Shefflin, 6. Richie Reid, 7. Darragh Corcoran

9. Patrick Mullen, 23. Conor Walsh

11. TJ Reid, 10. Adrian Mullen, 21. Joseph Cuddihy

12. Brian Cody,  14. Colin Fennelly (captain), 15. Eoin Cody

Subs

13. Eoin Reid for Walsh (half-time)

4. Kevin Mullen for Butler (inj) (33)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

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