Thursday, 14th December 2017
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Gunner lead the chase

Round Four of the JJ Kavanagh Senior Hurling Championship was completed last weekend and the one" big" question on lips of many of those attending in Walsh Park was "who will stop Ballygunner retaining the Waterford News and Star Cup"? The team from Knockboy gave an emphatic display of power, precision and skill as they overwhelmed a most disappointing Abbeyside on a 1-28 to 0-12 scoreline. Following their four point 2-18 to 1-17 win over Dungarvan the previous weekend, the joint table toppers (with De La Salle) showed why they are now firmly at the head of the market to go all the way.

As referee Alan Kissane got the game under way it was a lightning start from the Black and Reds as they notched six unanswered points in as many minutes. Corner Forward Conor Power created the space for wing back Shane Walsh to point and this was followed in quick succession by one each from Barry O'Sullivan, Peter Hogan, two from  marksman Paudie Mahony and one from David O'Sullivan. Finally Abbeyside through Mark Ferncombe got on the scoreboard. There was no letup however from the Gunners as they fired another goal and  four points in quick succession.

The goal from Conor Power on fifteen minutes following good work by Peter Hogan. Leading 1-16 to 0-6 at the break it was a mountain for Abbeyside against a team who have hit the championship trail running. In fairness to the challengers they never lost hope and Mark Ferncombe, Podge Hurney and Sean Daly kept them in the contest although it was a huge deficit to breach.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the thirty minutes and with Paudie Mahony so very accurate from placed balls the Gunners closed out the huge win which put them firmly in control of their group.

Minus the services of future star Billy Nolan, Roanmore confirmed their well being with a thoroughly deserved 2-16 to 1-17 win over a hitherto unbeaten Lismore. Star man for the city outfit was Gavin O'Brien who contributed 0-11 of their final tally. Leading double scores 0-6 to 0-3 midway through the opening half the Sky Blues had extended that to five points by the break 0-13 to 0-8. Roanmore were the dominant team during this time and should in fact have had a bigger lead but squandermania of chances didn't help. Indeed apart from the unerring accuracy (0-8 in the opening half) of O'Brien, the management will bemoan the wayward shooting of the forward division and know that there is a lot more still in this team.

A goal from Eoin Madigan after forty minutes confirmed the superiority of the winners but Lismore to be fair did come thundering back into the game as they saw the points begin to slip away. Central to their fightback was county start Maurice Shanahan and he helped the Cathedral Town to close to within two points 1-15 to

0-16 after fifty minutes. We looked for a grand stand finish but an Emmett O'Toole goal for Roanmore again open up a five point lead 2-15 to 0-16 with nine minutes remaining. Lismore tried everything to keep their unbeaten record alive but a goal deep in additional time from Shanahan was not enough to take the points and Roanmore with this win give themselves every chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

On Saturday evening at a rain lashed Fraher Field it was the turn of Passage and Fourmilewater to lay down their championshiop credentials.

Both club came into the game knowing that a win would put them in touch with the knockout stages of the competition. Fresh from a victory over Mount Sion the previous weekend Passage were coming into form at just the right time while Fourmilewater had accounted for Mount Sion by seven points in their opening game of the Championship. All was set for a do-or-die sixty minutes. Early in proceedings it was the men from Ballymacarbry who led the way with Dylan Guiry contributing four superb points easing his team 0-5 to 0-2 ahead. the ever accurate Owen Connors fired Passage back level after twenty minutes (0-5) each as the conditions deteriorated. A Shane Walsh goal before the break edged the game the way of Fourmilewa\ter and they led 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.

This was a real battle of the number 12's as Guiry and Connors continued to find the target. Three points from the latter saw the game tied 1-9 to 0-12 as the clock passed the sixty minute mark. In those final minutes however it was the men from the fishing village who came good and scores from Stephen Lynch and Liam Flynn clinched the points for Passage on a 1-13 to 1-9 scoreline.

Following defeat to Passage the previous week Mount Sion were on a retrieval mission against bottom of the table Portlaw. Player of the year Austin Gleeson, who was out of bounds for the previous round, was back in the starting lineup and opened the scoring with a point. Portlaw brought county panellist DJ Foran to the engine room to curb the influence of the Sion star in those opening minutes. The move worked as the Tannerytown talisman helped give his team a one point, 0-3 to 0-2, lead after seven minutes. The game swung towards Mount Sion in the 10th minute as a lone delivery from Ian O'Regan was snapped up by Stephen

Roche who goaled 1-4 to 0-3. Mount Sion continued to keep their "noses in front" with Austin Gleeson landing three points while Portlaw marksman DJ Foran landed a similar tally for his team.

The second half began with both players hitting the target. a couple of nasty incidents in that second half saw both John Dee of Mount Sion and Niall Fitzgerald of Portlaw red carded as the Monastery led by two points 1-11 to 1-9. Another Portlaw defender, Shane Foran, also received his marching orders for a second bookable offence and the pendulum had swung towards Mount Sion. A flurry of points and a goal apiece from Jordan Broaders and Cian O'Regan saw the city side home to a comfortable 3-18 to 0-11 win and a precious two points.

Pre championship joint favourites De La Salle came preciously close to losing their unbeaten record on Sunday evening in Fraher Field as a last minute point from Jack fagan gave them a draw against a determined Tallow outfit. The Stephen Street outfit who had been imperious up to this, led 1-9 to 0-8 courtesy of a goal from the evergreen John Mullane.

De La Salle who began the game minus the services of player of the year nominee Kevin Moran were made to bring the very influential defender into the action midway through the second half. However a goal from county player Tommy Ryan six minutes from the end gave Tallow a 1-17 to 1-14 lead and it looked as though the outsiders were about to complete a huge upset. In the final minutes it was the city outfit who came back strongly with a late late free giving Fagan the opportunity to claim a point, and secured their place in the knockout stages on the coattails of Ballygunner.

The final game of hurling weekend saw Dungarvan face fellow Western club Ballyduff Upper. The latter have been finding the going really tough and thus far have been unable to take a point from their three games against De La Salle, Ballygunner and Tallow. It was imperative that they grab the points on offer if they held any hope of going through to the knockout stages of the competition. A boost of a Mikey Kearney goal on five minutes saw the reds ahead 1-1 to 0-3. There was little to seperate the teams and they were still level after fifteen minutes but a goal from Patrick Curran allied to some fine points from the Old Boro marksman saw them ahead 1-12 to 1-6 at the break. Dungarvan continued to make the running and a second goal from Curran midway through the second half gave Dungarvan a 2-19 to 1-9 cushion. It was not to be for Ballyduff Upper and they went down 2-17 to 1-11.

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