Lar Corbett in action for Sarsfields
Last gasp Ballygunner sneak the win in a tough, uncompromising contest.
Thurles Sarsfields Munster club championship voyage ended in Walsh Park after a pulsating contest with hosts Ballygunner which went into extra time, only for the Waterford champions to sneak it at the very death.
A hard pill for the Sarsfields lads to swallow, they will have to concede that Ballygunner were the slightly the better side - perhaps the home advantage just about saw them over the line.
It was a very tough, uncompromising first half, the big difference between the sides was a 20th minute Pauric Mahony goal which went all the way to the Sarsfields net from beyond the 65 metre line. It was a real setback to the Blues who were a point in front at the time, and Ballygunner went on to extend their lead to three with Mahony their main men.
Indeed, that was to be the interval gap - 1-8 to 0-8, in what was a very tight affair living up to the predicted expectations. The Sarsfields attack was finding it very hard to gain any freedom and with the wind to play into in the second half, they certainly had it all to do. Lar Corbett besides - he had 0-3 from play by the break - Sarsfields forwards were making little headway.
It was a nip and tuck third quarter but the decisive score came in the 14th minute when Conor Stakelum goalled for Sarsfields after a Billy McCarthy effort had been saved by Stephen O'Keeffe. That shoved the visitors in front but Ballygunner came again and led by two, a minute into added time. Sarsfields dug deep though and Stephan Cahill and Lar Corbett found the scores to force extra time.
Sarsfields had shown a lot of guts to force the draw - now they needed to build on it if they were going to bring the ship home.
They didn't do so in the first period of extra time with Ballygunner dictating the terms of engagement. They had points from Pauric Mahony (2) and David O'Sullivan to take a two point advantage into the break, with Aidan McCormack getting the Sarsfields score from a free.
Sarsfields were back on terms with Padraic Maher playing a captains part and getting two great points to go along with one from Pa Burke, but Ballygunner finished with a flurry with JJ Hutchinson and Pauric Mahony sealing the tie as the Blues came in search of an equaliser.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Sarsfields after such an enormous effort.