Déise star Hutchinson was in scintillating form with 1-5 from play as the Waterford giants delivered champagne hurling to land provincial honours and make amends for their 2019 provincial final defeat to Borris-Ileigh.
raeme Mulcahy and Robbie Hanley fired over a point apiece inside two minutes, but that was as good as it got for Kilmallock as Ballygunner quickly settled into their stride with Hutchinson and Pauric Mahony (free) levelling it up, 0-2 each.
Mahony was unerring from placed balls and additional another long free before Hutchinson pounced on a defensive error and fired to the net in the ninth minute as a two-point deficit turned into a four-point advantage.
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Kilmallock couldn’t get any traction in attack and it could have been much worse for them at the other end four minutes later with Barry Hennessy pulling off a sensational save to deny Hutchinson a second goal when brilliantly getting down low to his left.
Mahony fired over the resultant ’65 and another free while his brother Mikey sent over a neat point – produced by Hutchinson’s vision – before Kevin O’Donnell ended 15 scoreless minutes for Kilmallock with the last point before the first water break, 1-6 to 0-3.
Micheál Houlihan sent over an outrageous point to start the second quarter, but was forced off just minutes later due to injury and it was business as normal for the ‘Gunners as they fired a hat-trick of points via a brace from Billy O’Keeffe and a Mahony point, 1-9 to 0-4.
O’Donnell fired over a free for Kilmallock, but they were playing second fiddle in every sector with Mahony and a long-range effort from Peter Hogan finishing off the scoring with Ballygunner nine points to the good at half-time, 1-11 to 0-5.
at any rate slim hope Kilmallock had having emerged from the changing rooms early disappeared within seconds of the restart as Hutchinson fired two quick-fire points before Kevin Mahony latched onto a free from his brother Pauric and pulled the sliotar to the net while O’Keeffe additional another point with a 1-3 blitz opening proceedings, 2-14 to 0-5.
Their rule was nevertheless at 15 points at the second water break after O’Keeffe additional their third goal in the 40th minute, 3-15 to 0-9, as they coasted to a third provincial success to set up an All-Ireland semi-final date with Ulster champions Slaughtneil later this month.
Scorers – Ballygunner: D Hutchinson 1-5, Pauric Mahony 0-7 (4f, 0-1 ’65), B O’Keeffe 1-3, K Mahony 1-0, P Hogan 0-2, P Leavey 0-2, M Mahony 0-1. Kilmallock: C Hanley 1-1 (1-0f), K O’Donnell 0-3 (2f), R Hanley 0-2, G Mulcahy 0-1, M Houlihan 0-1, O O’Reilly 0-1, P O’Reilly 0-1, C O’Connor 0-1, K Hayes 0-1.
Ballygunner: S O’Keeffe; T Foley, B Coughlan, I Kenny; R strength, Philip Mahony, S O’Sullivan; C Sheahan, P Leavey; M Mahony, Pauric Mahony, P Hogan; D Hutchinson, K Mahony, B O’Keeffe. Subs: Conor strength for Hogan (54), E Hayden for O’Sullivan (56), H Ruddle for B O’Keeffe (57), B O’Sullivan for Pauric Mahony and J Foley for Hutchinson (both 59).
Kilmallock: B Hennessy; L English, M O’Loughlin, D Joy; P O’Loughlin, C O’Connor, P O’Brien; R Hanley, A Costello; M Houlihan, O O’Reilly, D Woulfe; K O’Donnell, G O’Mahony, G Mulcahy. Subs: Paddy O’Loughlin for Houlihan inj (25), C Hanley for Philip O’Loughlin (half-time), P O’Reilly for Woulfe and R Egan for O’Mahony (both 44), K Hayes for Costello.
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).
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