Ballygunner catch fire in second half to win
A magnificent second-half rally saw Ballygunner overturn a five-point half-time deficit to overcome Sixmilebridge in a gripping Munster Club semi-final at Walsh Park on Sunday.
JJ Hutchinson, scorer of 1-3 during the Gunners’ second-half recovery, rifled a 58th-minute goal though a mass of limbs to edge Fergal Hartley’s side two points clear before a 2,492-strong crowd.
And when Billy O’Keeffe, followed by Hutchinson landed further superb points in additional time, one felt Ballygunner had done enough to secure their place in the provincial decider.
But as the game trickled into its third extra minute, redeployed centre back Seadna Morey slammed the sliotar past All Star goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe to hand Sixmilebridge a lifeline. But time ran out for the Claremen, who had dominated the opening half, going in 0-11 to 0-6 up at the break.
Whatever oracle was worked in the Ballygunner dressingroom did the trick at half-time and they’d drawn level by the 39th minute.
Over the next 20-plus minutes, the sides slugged it out, with Jamie Shanahan turning over two superb points for Sixmile in the closing stages, but the qualities exemplified by Pauric Mahony, O’Keeffe and Hutchinson ensured the day was Ballygunner’s.
They will face Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh in the provincial decider on Sunday week.