Aidan McCormack scored three points when Thurles Sarsfields were beaten by Ballygunner after extra time in Sunday's Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship quarter final at Walsh Park.
Ballygunner 1-21 Thurles Sarsfields 1-19 (after extra time)
There was more disappointment for Thurles Sarsfields in the Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship when they were beaten by Ballygunner after extra time in Sunday's quarter final at Walsh Park.
Sarsfields have won seven of the last nine county championships but have only one Munster title (won in 2012) to their name.
And that disappointing record continued when they lost out to Ballygunner in a pulsating battle that was only decided after extra time.
Late points from substitute JJ Hutchinson and co-captain Pauric Mahony saw Fergal Hartley’s men across the line.
Ballygunner led by 1-8 to 0-8 at half-time in normal time and there was more than a slice of good fortune attached to their goal. That came after 20 minutes when Pauric Mahony’s 70-metre free dropped into the Sarsfields net after the sliothar slipped through Padraic Maher’s grasp.
In a game played in front of a 2,864-strong crowd, the Waterford champions were the better team in the opening half hour, during which only three from the total of 17 scores came from a placed ball.
Pauric Mahony and Lar Corbett exchanged the game’s opening points, with Mahony and Stephen Lillis exchanging further points in the sixth minute. Lillis found his range again after eight minutes, soon followed by another Sars point by Aidan McCormack.
However Ballygunner never let Sarsfields get too far ahead and Pauric Mahony landed further points in the 10th and 12th minutes to restore parity.
McCormack and Corbett ensured that Sarsfields regained their two-points lead midway through the first half before Brian O’Sullivan outjumped Michael Cahill to turn over a superb 18th minute point.
Mahony’s goal proved the next score, followed immediately by David O’Sullivan’s excellent effort from the left wing to leave Ballygunner three clear by the 21st minute.
Conor Power and Denis Maher traded points in the 24th and 28th minutes before the outstanding Pauric Mahony closed the first half scoring with a 65-metre free.
The Tipp champions had to chase the game but they showed great determination to force extra-time.
Conor Stakelum maintained his goalscoring streak when he scooped the ball beyond Stephen O’Keeffe after 44 minutes to send Sars ahead, after the All-Star nominee had brilliantly thwarted Billy McCarthy’s goal-bound effort.
However Ballygunner rallied, primarily through the accuracy of Pauric Mahony to retake the lead, with Shane O’Sullivan and Peter Hogan sending them two clear heading into injury-time.
Sarsfields refused to give up the ghost in the four additional minutes, as points from Stephen Cahill and Lar Corbett sent this absorbing tussle into extra time.
But ultimately the Gunners edged out Sarsfields in a tense and dramatic finale.
Ballygunner- S O’Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; Philip Mahony, W Hutchinson, S Walsh; H Barnes, S O’Sullivan (0-1); P Hogan (0-2), D O’Sullivan (0-2), Pauric Mahony (1-11; 1-6 frees); C Power (0-1), Brian O’Sullivan (0-1), B O’Keeffe.
Substitutes - D Walsh (0-1) for Brian O’Sullivan (43 minutes), Barry O’Sullivan (0-1) for B O’Keeffe (58 minutes), JJ Hutchinson (0-1) for C Power (58 minutes), T O’Sullivan for P Hogan (68 minutes), C Sheahan for S Walsh (78 minutes) and B O’Keeffe for H Barnes (80 minutes).
Thurles Sarsfields - P McCormack; S Maher, C Moloney, M Cahill; R Maher, P Maher (0-2), S Lillis (0-2); J Maher, S Cahill (0-1); B McCarthy (0-1), A McCormack (0-3, 1 free) P Bourke (0-3, 2 frees) C Stakelum (1-0), D Maher (0-3), L Corbett (0-4).
Substitutes - T Doyle for P Bourke (49 minutes), M O’Brien for C Stakelum (56 minutes), C Stakelum for D Maher (68 minutes), K O’Gorman for S Maher (half time in extra time) and P Bourke for L Corbett (73 minutes).
Referee - Colm Lyons (Cork).