Tag Archives: Lismore

Ballygunner 1-17 (20) Lismore 0-19 (19)


Donal O’Grady said after the recent All-Ireland final that the best team always wins, that the scoreboard never lies. Well that’s grand, Donal, we can dispense with pundits altogether. Why bother with all that post-match waffle when any comment withers in the face of the irrefutable logic of the final score?

You can surely observe the sarcasm dripping from that last paragraph, so it’s important to add the caveat that the scoreboard does have its uses in determining who deserved to win. In a close game where there is never more than a couple of scores between teams, there are few controversial incidents and moments of genius / horrific clangers are evenly shared, it can clear the mind of the detritus generated by the ebb and flow of the match and your own hopes and fears. It would have been lovely had such a tight game ended in a draw, but there is a ruthless logic to the final score – Ballygunner just about shaded it.


While Lismore opened the scoring and should had a goal after ten minutes when Padraig Prendergast batted the ball wide when Maurice Shanahan’s mazy run had left the goal at Lismore’s mercy, Ballygunner made all the early running and could have been out of sight midway through the half. Three frees from Paul Flynn, one after a rather wild swing from Eoin Bennett that might have ended up in worse than the yellow card it got, and a point apiece from Andy Maloney and Shane O’Sullivan left Ballygunner well on top when their goal arrived. Pauric Mahony was put into the clear and it looked like an ideal situation for him to bat the ball across goal. This may have been in Brendan Landers’ mind which would explain how easily he was beaten at his near post by Mahony.


Goals supposedly win games, and the shock explained why Maurice Shanahan felt the need to go for goal with a free which was saved and cleared. It was almost curtains moments later when Paul Flynn capitalised on a stumble from Joxer O’Connor to get clear though on goal. Less money was lost by Anglo Irish Bank than by those of us mentally putting the house on this ending in a goal, but Landers made up for the earlier slip by blocking the shot and mopping up the rebound.

This gave Lismore a huge lift and they began chipping away at the lead. Dave Bennett provided his obligatory couple of points from play and Maurice Shanahan stayed unerring in the free-taking department, even serving up a cracking solo score from play. They were aided when Shane Bennett was in the right place to clear after Paul Flynn had managed to get the ball past the advancing Landers. That’s the charitable interpretation of what happened. For me, the Lismore defence played the man and not the ball and only their sheer numbers confused the ref into thinking it was good defending. Maybe it was good defending, but whatever way you cut it it was a lucky break for Lismore and when Dan Shanahan pulled first time on a loose ball in the 27th minute, it  flashed over the bar and the six point lead had been trimmed to one point. It was two frees to one for the remainder of the half and they went in level at half time.


Lismore kept the pressure up at the start of the second half, Maurice Shanahan keeping the frees ticking over including one monster from his own half. Stephen O’Keeffe – the Lismore version – also got a great point, a splendid hit on the turn from way out. At the other end Brian O’Sullivan put the ball wide when it seemed impossible to miss the target, and Gearóid O’Connor tried to repeat the trick of scoring a goal at the near post but Brendan Landers was wise to it this time. Ballygunner were beginning to wobble, typified by a loose pull from Fergal Hartley – Fergal Hartley! – which ended in a free where the ball landed and a soft score for Lismore. So it was just as well that Dan Shanahan was being his usual mercurial self, barreling through the defence then hitting air when he tried to kick the ball to the net, and finding himself caught in two minds having earned another goal scoring opportunity, hitting a soft wide.


At this stage, it looked like the game would be won by a show-stopping cameo, a storming goal from a Shanahan or, er, a Flynn. But the hero would appear in the unlikely guise of Andy Maloney. Points from Flynn and Stephen Power – “Ballygunner forward” – steadied the ship but Shane Kearney felt sufficiently confident after a great point with five minutes to go to punch the air with delight. Any delight Lismore felt would have oozed away in a matter of minutes as Maloney fired over two quick points from difficult positions, the second after a flubbed clearance by the Lismore defence. Five points from play, each one sent over the black spot on the crossbar and with total economy of effort. It was a hammer blow to Lismore and you could see the heads drop. Ballygunner went for the jugular with Mahony and Flynn points left them two points clear going in to injury time. James Shanahan tried to tee up a goalmouth scramble but the ball went over the bar off the post and Lismore had run out of time.


It was hard on Lismore. The final whistle was greeted with an errie lack of delight in the ground, confirmation that the vast majority of the crowd were rooting for them. The feeling of having missed the boat after last weekend’s missing of the boat will have been confounded having found themselves in a strong position heading in to the last quarter. But you couldn’t begrudge the Gunners. They only hit four wides in the entire game and had the outstanding performer of the day in Andy Maloney. His coolness under pressure was the difference between the teams. Let’s hope they can show that level of calm in the Munster championship.


All the news that’s fit to print


When is the Waterford county final? Who won it? When is the replay? The answer to none of these questions can be found on RTÉ’s hurling results page which, six days after the drawn game, has still not been updated to reflect the Waterford result. There is an argument to be made that the local GAA page would be a more logical place to keep this score and it can be found there, although at the time of writing there is no mention of the replay and there are fixtures on there from seven days ago with no result. But then why bother with any county final results on page 212? And can it really be that difficult in these days of iPhones and blogging software to keep these things up-to-date?

2009 county hurling final report

As is his wont, Giveitfong gives it large on the county final over on AFR:

Lismore 2-18 Ballygunner 4-12
Ballygunner had to come from behind with a last-gasp equaliser to tie up today’s exciting Waterford senior hurling final against Lismore in Walsh Park. Lismore, who have never before beaten Ballygunner in the championship, were never led in this game and may feel that they left their first title since 1993 behind them.
As for the semi-final two weeks ago, the newly relaid Walsh Park pitch was not up to standard which had a significant impact on the overall quality of hurling in this game. The game itself turned into something of a contest between Ballygunner veteran Paul Flynn, who ended up with 1-9, and Lismore youngster Maurice Shanahan who scored all but one of his eleven points from frees, most of them for fouls on himself.
Lismore were much the stronger in the early stages of the game and led 1-5 to 0-2 after ten minutes, the goal coming from centre forward Stephen O’Keeffe having been put in by Dan Shanahan, operating at full forward. Some excellent fielding by centre back Fergal Hartley and the switching of Andy Moloney back into defence helped steady the Ballygunner ship, but they were dealt a further hammer blow when Lismore corner forward Paudie Prendergast got on the end of a long delivery from out the field to finish past Stephen O’Keeffe. However, the Gunners were handed a lifeline just before half time when Paul Flynn hammered a penalty to the net after Gearóid O’Connor was fouled inside the large square, leaving the half time score at 2-9 to 1-6 in favour of Lismore.
Lismore started the second half well but were shocked by a brace of goals from Gearóid O’Connor and Shane O’Sullivan, both set up by Paul Flynn who was in rare form here. Lismore kept plugging away, mainly through Maurice Shanahan’s unerring freetaking and some excellent points from play by big brother Dan. However, a fourth Ballygunner goal from Paudie Mahony brought the sides to parity after 50 minutes. Lismore came back to again go three points ahead for what looked like a winning lead, but three pointed frees from Flynn, the last with the second last puck of the game, means the teams will have to do it all over again at the same venue next Saturday.
It was a pacy and well-contested game in which there were few star performances. Apart from Maurice and Dan Shanahan, centre back and captain Shane Kearney was probably Lismore’s top player. In addition to Paul Flynn and Fergal Hartley, Shane Walsh repeatedly caught the eye for the Gunners at wing back.
Teams: Lismore Brendan Landers, Eoin Bennett, James O’Connor, Shane Bennett, David O’Gorman, Shane Kearney, Paul Fennessy, John Prendergast, David Howard (0-1), Maurice Shanahan (0-11), Stephen O’Keeffe (1-0), Dave Bennett (0-1), Paudie Prendergast (1-1), Dan Shanahan (0-3), Chris O’Gorman (0-1). Substitutes Tom O’Brien for J O’Connor, Kevin Power for John Prendergast, James O’Connor for Paudie Prendergast.
Ballygunner: Stephen O’Keeffe, Alan Kirwan, Willie Kiely, Philip Mahony, Shane Walsh, Fergal Hartley, Wayne Hutchinson, Tommy Power, Colin Kehoe (0-1), Paudie Mahony (1-0), Shane O’Sullivan (1-1), Andy Moloney, Brian O’Sullivan (0-1), Paul Flynn (1-9), Gearóid O’Connor (1-0). Substitute Stephen Power for Brian O’Sullivan

Replay is next Saturday at 4pm – and that’s official.

On the (Tramore) road again

Typical. When I have the time to get to the county final, it’s in Dungarvan. When I don’t have the time due to work commitments, it’s in Waterford. So Lismore will have to cope without the pleasure of my support. Why Lismore? It’s the same old story,  it’s good to see teams who haven’t experienced the pleasure of winning the county title in a long time (or ever before, in the case of De La Salle) get their hands on the cup. Ballygunner may feel oppressed, having been in the final every year from 2001 to 2007 and only won it twice, but that’s two more wins than Lismore have managed in the last fifteen years. Besides, the Gunners have an illustrious backer – Tawdy of Tramore Road fame was donning the red and black today. With support like that, how can you lose?

Update: a draw then, replay next Saturday, presumably in Dungarvan. TG4 opted to show the Cork county final which featured a 16 point win for Newtownshandrum over Sarsfields. Expect TG4 to try and make up for this by showing the replay. Expect it to be a 1-8 to 0-10 grind.

Update II: rejoice! The replay looks like it is going to be in Walsh Park next Sunday. Disinformation on an internet forum? Who’d thought . . .

Update III: the final word on the replay – next Saturday, 4pm.

Ballyduff Upper Man for a day

Despite my pleasure at Ballygunner’s roasting of Mount Sion last week, I was still hoping that Lismore would do for them today. Alas, as it has been for God-knows-how-may recent championship matches over the years between those two teams, Lismore were not up to the task, going down to the Gunners on a score of 1-14 to 2-6. The damage was done early in the second half. With only a point in in at half time (0-7 to 1-3), Lismore spurned an early chance to level and watched as Ballygunner came straight up the field to score their only goal of the game. They gradually built up a seven point lead, and while the newly crowned Hurler of the Year notched up 1-1 in 90 seconds to trim the lead to three late on, Ballygunner held their nerve to book another – another! – county final appearance.

Please, Ballyduff Upper, put us all out of this fourteen year misery.

Oooh-ooh, halfway there!

Final score, Ballygunner v Mount Sion, October 2007

Quote of the month, if not the year, went to my dad on the train back from Dublin yesterday. Ten to eight, and already I was checking how Stan and the boys were doing against Germany at Croke Park. “Why are you bothering,” says he, “don’t you know it’ll be 0-0? Don’t you know it’ll be 0-0 in an hours time?” A comment born of his less-than-glowing attitude to soccer, but it was eerie in its presience. And what better way to ram home the point than to agree to accompany me to the replay between Mount Sion and Ballygunner, where it was most unlikely that the score was going to be 0-0 to 0-0.

Ballygunner v Mount Sion 1, October 2007

As it was, what transpired was only marginally more entertaining, as an astonishing three-goal salvo in the first ten minutes sunk the defending champions before they had even had a chance to raise the periscope to survey the danger. Each goal was more morale-sapping than the last, the first allowing the Ballygunner forward (no team sheet could be found) to waltz through the defence and score with a shot that Ian O’Regan in the Mount Sion goal really should have seen coming; the second seeing the Mount Sion defence going AWOL, the Gunners nearly screwing up as they had acres of time and space to walk the ball into the net; and the third from a free, a well-struck one but surely one Monastery man could have put a stick to it as there were enough on the line to form a scrum. When another speculative effort on goal from a free arrowed home – Ballygunner’s forward clearly spending his days well with The Master – the match was done and dusted.

Ballygunner v Mount Sion 2, October 2007

Having not been at a senior club match in all of eight years – the 1999 county final, when the Mount Sion juggernaut flattened Ballyduff Upper – this was a case of dipping my toes in the water. I can certainly see myself doing it again. The bone-juddering intensity of hurling is still there at the lower levels, even in a match as anti-climactic as this one was. So I’ll be back, in the sense of being back to Walsh Park, where it’s a case of short journey in, easy parking, no hassle getting a ticket or a seat (can’t have been more than a thousand at it) and a quick getaway at the end. Heading down to Dungarvan or even further afield for the Munster club championship, should we be in it? I don’t think so.

Ken McGrath free, Ballygunner v Mount Sion, October 2007

Speaking of Dungarvan, it is there that Ballygunner travel to play Lismore next weekend in the semi-final. As per previous comments. Lismore shall have my full support (in spirit). And should they fail, Ballyduff Upper shall have my full support, they having secured the honour of being my backup to slay the other head on the Waterford hurling Hydra that is Ballygunner by defeating Abbeyside in a nailbiter on Saturday night. Fingers crossed.

Three into one won’t go

The county championship is tortuously moving into the closing stages, and the only question worth asking is can anyone break the duopoly of Mount Sion and Ballygunner? The Big Two collide in the quarter-final today in Walsh Park, which should on the face of it improve the chances of one of the others winning out seeing as only one of them will be in the semi-final. I’m taking a glass-half-empty view of the whole thing though. I view them as being one and the same thing, and guaranteeing that one of them will be in the semi-final is, well, guaranteeing that one of them will be in the semi-final. Which is a bad thing. Better that both had had the opportunity of losing in the quarter-finals and ridding us of their tedious presence before the semi-finals.

As it is, Abbeyside and Ballyduff Upper are already in the semi-finals. Our thoughts and best wishes go with them and the winners of the Lismore and De La Salle match today. All of you, any of you would do!

Update: looks like it’s Mount Sion 2-12 Ballygunner 1-15. They’re zombies, keeping on coming back. Thankfully no Waterford team enters the Munster club championship until the 18th November but it’ll be no thanks to the Big Two and their local bun fight if we get in on time.

Update II: Lismore defeated De La Salle, 1-17 to 1-15, in the other quarter-final, two points in injury time snatching the victory for the westerners. You’ll never guess who got winning point, not in a million years . . .