Sharp-shooter O'Sullivan inspires Ballygunner blitz
B'gunner 0-19 Glen Rovers 1-9
Usually the first half hints at a trends that will remain throughout the game. It produces some sort of constant that will help dictate the outcome. In Walsh Park yesterday there was none of that.
There was no way to explain how Ballygunner produced what they did. The conditions were poor and the wind was against them but having hit just three points in the opening 30 minutes and having seen their only scorer from play withdrawn, there was no hint of what was to come.
Both sides had been reduced to 14 men after a first-half melee but on the restart, Ballygunner, managed by former Cork boss Denis Walsh, found 10 consecutive points to no reply to turn a five point half-time deficit into a five point lead.
With each score they grew while Glen Rovers died a little.
Ballygunner had many heroes but Brian O'Sullivan's nerveless shooting was key and all the more impressive considering he was deputising for injured county star Pauric Mahony.
Glen had no response. Even a piece of brilliance from Patrick Horgan, that saw him volley a sideline cut into the net couldn't revive them. That effort came in the 50th minute and cut the gap to two points but Ballygunner weren't to be denied. They'd hit another six points before full time while Glen could only manage a Horgan free.
"We never really got going, they were winning all the ball," Glen selector Des Cullinane reflected. "The ball was dirty, but they were coming out of it most of the time. That was the winning of the game."
For Ballygunner, the second half was about delivering on the potential they had hinted at all year.
"It was serious going (to score 10 points without replay) but that was in the team and it hadn't come out all year," Walsh reflected.
"In the quarter final, semi-final and final, we could have been beaten in any of them. We didn't drive on but we asked them to drive on today."
The first half was a story of what happened before the row and after the row. The opening 20 minutes or so had been forgettable as the scores stood at 0-3 to 0-2 in Glen Rovers' favour, something Ballygunner would likely have been happy with considering they had played against a considerable breeze.
Suddenly out of a seemingly innocuous situation under the stand, tempers flared when Philip Mahony appeared to bump into David Cunningham with his hurl.
Almost every player on the pitch got involved in the skirmish and when it all calmed down, Glen's Dean Brosnan and Mahony were shown straight red cards by referee, and former Limerick footballer, Johnny Murphy.
The dismissals seemed to unsettle Ballygunner more. Mahony had been operating as a sweeper for his side and Glen flourished in the space with two less players on the field.
They hit three points on the bounce to open up a five-point gap. They could have been even further ahead but were guilty of some poor shot selection that saw them bring their wide tally to eight for the first half.
Ballygunner eventually mustered a reply when Brian O'Sullivan pointed a free in a rare attack to end a scoreless streak that lasted 20 minutes but Cunningham had the last word of the half for the visitors, with his point giving the Cork City men a 0-8 to 0-3 lead at the break.
From there, Ballygunner took over. They outscored their opponents by 0-16 to 1-1 in the second half and moved one step closer to emulating the men of 2001 who went all the way in Munster.
They face the winners of Thurles Sarsfields and Na Piarsaigh in the final in a fortnight's time while Rovers' wait for a first win in the province since 1989 goes on.
Scorers - Ballygunner: Brian O'Sullivan 0-9 (7f, 1 '65) S O'Sullivan, P Hogan, S Power (1' 65) 0-2 each, H Barnes, T O'Sullivan, C Sheahan, B O'Keeffe 0-1 each. Glen Rovers: P Horgan 1-5 (2f, 1 '65), G Callanan, G Moylan, D Cunningham, C Dorris 0-1 each.
Ballygunner - S O'Keeffe; E Hayden, B Coughlan, I Kenny; S Walsh, D O'Sullivan, H Barnes; B O'Keeffe, P Mahony; P Hogan, Shane O'Sullivan, Barry O'Sullivan; C Power, T O'Sullivan, Brian O'Sullivan. Subs: S Power for Hogan (14), JJ Hutchinson for T O'Sullivan (45), Sean O'Sullivan for Power (59), C Sheahan for B O'Keeffe (60).
Glen Rovers - C Hickey; B Murphy, D Dooling, S McDonnell; G Moylan, B Moylan, G Callanan; D Cronin, D Noonan; D Brosnan, P Horgan, D Cunningham; C Dorris, B Phelan, D Busteed. Subs: A O'Donovan for Phelan (46), L Coughlan for Busteed (52), G Kennefick for Dorris (58),
Ref - J Murphy (Limerick)