All-Ireland must now be the target - O'Neill
Na Piarsaigh manager Shane O'Neill believes his players silenced some of their critics by claiming a third Munster senior club hurling title in just five years.
And he believes that previous All-Ireland semi-final defeats will stand his players in good stead as they prepare for another crack at the biggest prize of all in the New Year.
O'Neill admitted: "We obviously made some mistakes because we lost both All-Ireland semi-finals.
"We'll have a look at that. I was involved in one of them myself as a player (2012).
"We'll have to see amongst the players what they thought could be improved on coming up to the All-Ireland series.
"We haven't got over that line so that's a target for these guys to go for now.
"Overall, we asked them last year to be the best they can be, which is a bit of a cliché, but they demanded so much more from themselves and each other because they had won the two Munster clubs and we felt again that we probably didn't get the credit we deserved.
"But I don't think there can be any questioning the club now with three counties and three Munsters in five years."
Ballygunner boss Denis Walsh, the ex-Cork manager, had no complaints with the result.
He lamented the loss of Peter Hogan to the recurrence of a hamstring injury in the half but reflected: "We said to the lads at half-time that the seven or eight minutes after the break would be the winning or losing of the game.
"And from our point of view it was the losing of it. They must have hit seven or eight points in ten minutes.
"They were able to move up a gear, and we weren't able to move up a gear with them. They're the hard facts of it.
"I'm disappointed for the lads. Physically we were a bit lighter than Na Piarsaigh at that time with the breeze coming against us.
"But I couldn't fault our fellas, they fought away."