MOUNT SION 1-20 BALLYGUNNER 0-9 INSPIRED by county star, Tony Browne, Mount Sion romped to their 31st Waterford SHC title when they inflicted a 14 points hammering on reigning champions Ballygunner in yesterday's one-sided decider at Walsh Park.
Eoin Kelly and Ken McGrath, who was starting his first game since being injured in Waterford's Munster Championship defeat by Tipperary last May, also played hugely influential roles in Mount Sion revenging last year's final defeat to the same opposition.
It was champions Ballygunner who got off to the best possible start when Paul Flynn converted two frees in as many minutes but once county minor star Eoin Kelly opened Mount Sion's account in the fifth minute, the Gunners were under pressure.
Full-forward Paul Foley had goals scoring opportunities for Ballygunner in the third and 26th minutes but was denied on both occasions by goalkeeper Philly Flynn.
Mount Sion's important goal came in the 21st minute when Browne got on the end of a Gary Gater clearance from his own square and the unerring Browne first-timed the ball to the net.
The threat of Ken McGrath was such that Ballygunner moved Fergal Hartley to full-back in the second quarter but Sion who were firing on all cylinders still remained the dominant force.
The new champions went in leading by 1-9 to 0-4 at half-time and it would have been more but for Ballygunner goalkeeper Ray Whitty denying Ken McGrath a certain goal with a brilliant save on the stroke of half-time.
Despite lots of early Ballygunner pressure on the resumption all they had to shoe for it was a Paul Power point. By the end of the third-quarter Mount Sion, who were hurling with precision and decisiveness were in total control when leading by 1-14 to 0-7.
Ballygunner for whom many of their stars were a big disappointment on the day, were never able to overcome Mount Sion's fluency and the threat of Browne and Kelly in particular had their beleaguered defence in all sorts of problems.
A succession of closing quarter points from Tony Browne, Anthony Kirwan, Ken McGrath and Padraig Fanning copper-fastened Mount Sion's supremacy and the destination of the first Waterford SH title of the new Millennium was decided long before the final whistle sounded.
SCORERS - Mount Sion: T Browne 1-7 (0-4 F), A Kirwan 0-5, E Kelly 0-3 (1 `65), K McGrath 0-3, B Browne, P Fanning 0-1 each. Ballygunner: P Flynn 0-4 (0-3 F), P Power 0-2, P O'Sullivan, P Foley, M Mahony 0-1 each.
MOUNT SION - P Flynn; J Cleere, G Gater, K O'Connor; B Flannery, R McGrath, K O'Neill; E Kelly, P Fanning; E McGrath, A Kirwan, T Browne; M White, K McGrath, B Browne. Sub: M O'Regan for White.
BALLYGUNNER - R Whitty; N O'Donnell, A Kirwan, R O'Sullivan, S Frampton, F Hartley, C Kehoe; T Fives, P Power; B O'Sullivan, P Flynn, T Carroll; D O'Sullivan, M Mahony, P Foley. Sub: B O'Keeffe for Fives.
REF - P Moore (Abbeyside).